A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a perennial holiday favourite. I once played a street urchin in a stage adaptation of the novel – one of the first shows I ever did – and I have only good memories of that experience. The novel has, of course, been adapted many times over for stage, film and television – sometimes more faithfully than others.
For me, the film that is closest in spirit to the novel by Dickens is the 1999 Patrick Stewart version. But my favourite is The Muppet Christmas Carol.
The question is: which is your favourite adaptation of A Christmas Carol?
I always found George C. Scott’s version to be definitive when it comes to Dickens’ story. The cast is also beyond compare: David Warner, Susanna York, Edward Woodward – perfection. Of course, Albert Finney in the musical version is brilliant as well and also has a cast of treasures: Edith Evans, Alec Guinness, Laurence Naismith and Kenneth More.
Seriously, I think the Muppet version is easily the best adaptation.
Patrick Stewart, no question. A friend of mine in college went to see his one-man A Christmas Carol in Los Angeles. This was back when Star Trek: the Next Generation was still on the air. The entire lead cast was there to see it. My friend got to sit right behind Brent Spiner. An added bonus to what she said was a phenomenal show. I still hate her for that. I mean, really, taking her sister instead of me.
I agree with Dawn that George C. Scott’s version is definitive when it comes to Dickens’ story. My favorite “take” on A Christmas Carol is Scrooged with Bill Murray.
The Muppet Christmas Carol: besides the obvious fact that the Muppets are in it and make it hilarious, I really do like Michael Caine’s performance very much.
I think A Christmas Carol is very difficult to do because it’s so well-known. Actors bring their own interpretation to the characters but I think the audience have their own preconceived ideas as to who the characters are. The roles have become stereotypical but if one tries to avoid them, it can look strange when deviating from the familiar story. In my opinion the best serious version was the 1951 film starring Alastair Sim. Most convincing Scrooge I’ve seen. Surprisingly, the 1962 Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol is pretty good and, while not loaded with songs, it is a musical.
Magoo. Come on, man.
I’ve grown up on the George C. Scott version: it’s absolutely amazing. Scott is stunning, especially near the end when he’s conversing with the Ghost of Christmas Future. We watch it every year on Christmas Eve. The Patrick Stewart version is a really good one too. And, of course, who could forget the Muppets?