Pros:Alistair Sim, Story, Moral, Sets and costuming
Cons:More people need to see this
The Bottom Line: This Dickens classic is a perennial favorite spreading holiday cheer among all. Must see!
A Christmas Carol (1951)
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This tale was one of Charles Dickens' most beloved; a story that tried to distill the true spirit of Christmas and renew people's hearts every time they heard the tale, or in the case of film, saw it. Dickens, of course, was one of the most famous authors ever born in the British isles and one who had one of the most prolific outputs, too. Dickens was one of the authors who wrote in the vernacular - the language of the common people - and published serial versions of his longer works in periodicals as well as short stories like A Christmas Carol a story that first was published in 1843. It has since become a perennial Christmas favorite and has been adapted several times into films, both movie and television. This 1951 adaptation is one of the best of Hollywood's versions.
Ebenezer Scrooge (Alistair Sim) is an old miserly businessman who has all his needs taken care of and more but still begrudges his employees a decent living, for example his clerk, Bob Cratchit (Mervyn Johns), who has a wife and several children including a little boy who is handicapped, Tiny Tim. The Cratchits in their poverty are very happy while Scrooge with all his plenty is bitter and complains about everything. His outlook changes when he is confronted one Christmas Eve night by the ghosts of his former partner, Marley and Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come.
Marley (Michael Hordern), of course, is paying the price for being a miser much like Scrooge, weighed down by the chains of his past. Marley thinks enough of his old partner to try to get him to see the error of his ways and reform before it is too late. He introduces Scrooge to the first ghost and Scrooge gets scared straight by seeing the unhappy childhood that led to his attitude that poor people should die and decrease the surplus population.
After being haunted by the first ghost he sees the current celebrations through the magic of the Ghost of Christmas Present and learns the preparations of Bob Cratchit's family and the small handicapped Tiny Tim who is scheduled to die soon. When Scrooge shows a bit of humanity the ghost throws his miserly statement back in his face - better for him to die and decrease the surplus population.
Scrooge finally sees his own end through the workings of the third ghost and realizes that no one will miss him. Scrooge wakes up after his restless night a changed man who proves his change of heart by becoming the man he always could have been.
The characters are all well cast and well played. Alistair Sim who occupies the most screen time does a believable transformation from a hated miser to a lovable old man. Bob Cratchit is very human and shows grief when he loses his beloved son in the ghost sequence. And of course Tiny Tim is a favorite of all who watch it. The special effects are good and the sets and costuming are great. The filming is in black and white with plenty of shadows. The viewer will agree with Tiny Tim who sums up the whole production with his final statement, "God bless us - every one!"
The DVD is from VCI Home Video and contains both the original black and white and colorized versions of the 1951 classic.
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