Tue 19 Nov, 2002 08:35 pm
There are dozens of poor and barely adequate versions of the story. There are also a few that capture the full flavor Dickens intended. One that goes a bit beyond Dickens' vision is, I think, "Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)" starring Alistair Sim. It fleshes out an almost outline story by Dickens. Sim is perfect and so are most of the actors. Filmed in England in the 50s, in black and white, it moves very well through the several phases of the tale. One scene I find very powerful is in which the ghost's robe is drawn aside to reveal two apparent children sitting by its feet. They are apathy and ignorance, and they show it. The film moves very smoothly between scenes of misery and joy. I watched it last May or June even. I wonder if anybody else is so fanatical about the story despite the fact it gets overworked every year?
edgarblythe: I never get tired of seeing A Christmas Carol done well. My favorite is probably the George C. Scott version.
Have you ever seen the Alley Theatre production?
My favorite is the Alistair Sim version, British, 1951 . . .
The Alstair Sims is a classic and the George C. Scott is the best of the modern versions in color.
I have long admired George C. Scott, but I have to say in all honesty, the Sim version smokes his.
Every year I consider seeing it at the Alley, but my wife always seems reluctant, so I don't push it.
I used to work at the Alley, edgar, and their Christmas Carol is outstanding. I've stage managed five other versions as well, so I should know!
We had a beautifully done, large, hard-bound copy of this book when i was a child, illustrated by Arthur Rackham, the "Crown Prince" of English illustrators. I read it until it literally fell apart. What i like best about the Sim movie, is that the dialogue is so faithful to the novella; this, combined with Sim's tour de force performance enchanted me from the first time i saw this movie. Two of my favorite exchanges take place in the opening scenes:
"At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.''
"Are there no prisons?''
"Plenty of prisons,''
"And the Union workhouses? Are they still in operation?''
"They are. Still, I wish I could say they were not.''
"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigor, then?''
"Both very busy, sir.''
"Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course, I'm very glad to hear it.''
And, the classic exchange with Bob Cratchit:
"You'll want all day tomorrow, I suppose?''
"If quite convenient, Sir.''
"It's not convenient, and it's not fair. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it, you'd think yourself ill-used, I'll be bound? And yet, you don't think me ill-used, when I pay a day's wages for no work.''
"But it's only once a year, Mr. Scrooge."
"A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December!''
Setanta, was that from memory? Wow!
I read that about 100-150 times, Boss, during the first 10 years of my life . . . i've forgotten huge portions, but i sit there an' watch the Alistair Sim movie, and recite many of the lines along with the actors . . . (there may be a few small errors in that text)