A Christmas Carol (1938)

Article #898 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-30-2003
Posting Date: 1-27-2004
Directed by Edwin L. Marin
Featuring Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart

Three things no one needs: 1) Last week’s TV schedule, 2) Paper toothpicks, and 3) One-sentence plot descriptions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

I don’t know how many versions of this Dickens Christmas perennial are out there, but I suspect that if I covered them all in a row, it might well take two to three weeks to finish them all. As far as the ones with which I’m familiar, this one isn’t quite up to the later Alastair Sims version, but is worlds better than the Seymour Hicks version from a few years earlier. The basic rules for pulling off a version of this story are simple; 1) get the spirit right, 2) know what the key scenes are in the story, and 3) have a decent Scrooge. This one does a solid job with the story, and as such is very effective. In some ways, it’s hard to go wrong with this story; the basic theme that choosing to engage in the joy of the Christmas season actively contributes to the joy of oneself and others is very resonant, and there is always something healing about watching a good version of the story. This version is certainly no exception.

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