** A Christmas Carol (1951)

George Minter Productions

Alastair Sim, Kathleen Harrison, Mervyn Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Michael Hordern, George Cole, Francis De Wolff

The 1951 Alistair Sim Black and White version of A Christmas Carol is the familiar story of  Ebenezer Scrooge who has turned into a miserly miserable old man who won’t budge an inch.  He is visited by the three ghosts who show him his past, present, and future in an attempt to show him the error of his ways and persuade him to change.

Many people swear this is the greatest version of all times of the Dickens story.  I admit, it is a very good film, especially for 1951.  Alistair Sim made a fine Scrooge, no doubt.  But it’s odd that some of the language that was left out of this film from the book, and some of the scenes that were added to the story.  I will discuss a couple of those in a second.  Still, it’s a powerful telling of the story.  I live within a mile of Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Ca. and they have (for a while yet I think) a replicate of the famous Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone, Arizona. For year they ran daily melodrama’s there and many famous people started out there (Steve Martin being one of them).  They do a version of A Christmas Carol (and also a version of “The Gift of the Magi”) which is based directly from the script in this version of the film.  Some of the stuff comes over badly.  For example, this version mentions that Fred’s Mother died giving him birth as Ebenezer’s mom died giving him birth (to explain the reason why Scrooge’s Dad hated him).  The problem is that Scrooge has a younger sister.  So in this version they reversed the ages of Scrooge and his sister.  In other versions, as in the Knott’s version, they include the idea (not in the book) that Scrooge killed his mom during childbirth but still had a miraculous younger sister!  Another strange thing about this version of the film is that one of his most famous lines of the book about “Anyone who goes around with Merry Christmas on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart” is completely missing from this film.  So is this the ultimate version?  I don’t think so, but I do agree that it is very good and defined the visual image of the book forever.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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