A Christmas Carol
Posted November 2, 2011on:
You’d think it was a bit early for a blog post about Christmas, and you’re right, it is. That’s why it’s a good thing this post isn’t about Christmas but about the book. I am a member of a group on GoodReads.com (although I’m not sure why, given their hostility towards authors) that’s decided to select a story about winter as the group read for December. Some smart person suggested Dickens as a classic winter tale, and I seconded it, in part because it’s freely available on the web. They have the vote early so people can then get the book, and then they can read it, in time to discuss it, at which point it is Christmas.
My own personal favorite version of the story is the version starring George C. Scott. His portrayal of Scrooge as someone who has forgotten his humanity rang much truer to me than as someone who had to be ‘scared straight.’ The ghosts were also a vast improvement, this was one of the few movies I’ve seen where they were actually scary! The grin on the face of Christmas Past, the open anger from Christmas Present–perfect stuff. Marley’s mouth falling open, and his scream of anguish…
I went out and found the original text mainly because I’d had it up to here with all the different versions of the story that had been made into movies. It’s like every actor wants to play either the President, Hamlet, or Scrooge. So many people claimed that the Alastair Sim version was the best that I even saw it online on youtube, where it exists in 10 parts or something. It was okay, I thought, but the scenes with the dying sister were a little over the top for my taste.
Which is part of why I found the story. Many of the scenes in these movies aren’t in there at all, and it’s no wonder that they ring false with the rest of the story. So many movies take so many liberties with the story that I wanted to know which, if any, were even close to the original. Not that keeping to the script would necessarily make a great movie, but given the script it probably wouldn’t hurt (I saw a variation on the Pirates of Penzance that was just awful).
Do you have a favorite version? How close was it to the original story?