5 Days of Christmas Movies: A Christmas Carol (1951)

2. The Classic Of Christmas Classics

There are countless adaptations of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. A different version shows up almost every decade and attempts to rehash the timeless story without making it dull. Some, like the 2009 adaptation that used performance capture, show off new technologies. Several versions are animated. Others play up the fantasy elements or place an immensely popular actor in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. One of these versions is bound to have your favorite.

And despite all of these versions, no adaptation comes close to the 1951 version, directed by Brian Desmond Hurst and starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge.

I love a good curmudgeon.

This version of A Christmas Carol (known as Scrooge in the UK) stays faithful to the source material, strays from making the film too family friendly, and feels wonderfully vivid because of Alastair Sim’s performance as Scrooge.

The cast of this film consists entirely of character actors. Sim made his mark on the stage and in bit parts in several films. A Christmas Carol is arguably his most well known film performance today.

Sim’s Scrooge is a real crank. He is angry, resentful, and just an all around unpleasant man. He doesn’t give his one employee Bob Cratchit a bonus or want to visit his nephew to celebrate the holiday.Yet after the visits from the ghosts of Jacob Marley, Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future, Scrooge instantly changes. Scrooge becomes giddy with joy and excitement, causing his housemaid to think he’s gone mad. (Sim’s laugh in this scene is infectious.) He makes amends with his family and Cratchit.

No matter how many more adaptations of A Christmas Carol there will be (you know a 3D live-action version is somewhere in the works), it is unlikely that any actor could top Alastair Sim as the best Scrooge.

3 thoughts on “5 Days of Christmas Movies: A Christmas Carol (1951)”

  1. Great Joanna! … Enjoyed your review of this classic … And your assessment of the remakes not standing up to the power of the original … Unfortunately, it appears we will have to suffer a tsunami of 3D sequels in the future … George

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