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4.7 out of 5 stars172
4.7 out of 5 stars
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For me this is the definitive version of Charles Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol'. As well as being a fine comedy actor, Alistair Sim had a great underused talent for dramatic acting. Watch him in this or in 'An Inspector Calls' and you will see what I mean.

The Story is I think the linchpin of our modern secular Christmas. There are few references to the Christian tale, so it speaks to all people of goodwill, of any religion or no religion.

The Gothic grey photography suits the grim Victorian setting very well. There is a colourised version of the film around, and this version has a couple of colourised scenes as extras. They are interesting from a technical point of view, but I just prefer the original black and white. The sound is a bit scrappy, but you can hear all the dialogue.

My favorite scene is after Scrooge's conversion when he is on his stairs with his housekeeper, played by Kathleen Harrison. For me it is the most touching scene on film ever. Her absolute joy as she slowly realises the change in her master's character makes me fill up every time.

When you think that the film was made half way back to the Victorian era, it accounts for why it it all so true to Dickens' story.

I watch it every Christmas, and whenever I feel like a bit of Christmas.
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A sixty year old film. Black and white. Primitive special effects. Surely it has no place in this age of big budget spectaculars? Try it and see, become caught up in its magic. This version of "A Christmas Carol" remains truest to the spirit of the original - wonderfully evocative, with a central performance to treasure.

Alastair Sim is magnificent as the embittered miser, transformed by spirits overnight into a beaming philanthropist. Not for a second does he miss a trick - in turn radiating malevolence, terror, love, grief and joy.

Apart from the justifiably famous episodes, there are little moments that delight. Take, for example, Christmas Day when Scrooge, now transformed, accepts his nephew's invitation. Nervously he pauses at the door, the maid giving a nod of encouragement. The scene lasts but an instant but is a gem - amongst many. Then there is that marvellous Boxing Day sequence. Just a little late for work, humble clerk Bob Cratchit hurries into the office - fearful of his employer's wrath. What follows is played to perfection - guaranteed to uplift.

A good cast - amongst the outstanding are Mervyn Johns as kindly Bob and Kathleen Harrison as the perky char. George Cole plays young Scrooge. (Take a close look at the young Marley. Yes, Patrick Macnee - future Steed of "The Avengers".)

A tale of redemption which does Dickens proud. Recommended by one who watches it every year.
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on 7 January 2006
Ebeneezer Scrooge is the main character in Charles Dickens finest novel 'A Christmas Carol'. It is a heart warming story of how a tight fisted mean old man was haunted by three spirits at Christmas in the hope of changing his attitude towards his fellow men. I won't say if they succeeded as it may spoil it for anyone who has not seen the film or read the book. I have seen many versions of this novel but I believe that although Dickens died many years before Alister Sim was born, it was if the character was written just for him. Alister Sim plays the part beautifully and he managers to capture the essence of the story. I am not moved easily but there were moments when I felt a tear escape down my cheek. I highly recommend this film as it truly captures the magic of Christmas.
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on 14 December 2004
This is one of my favourite films of all time. I cry every single time when the young Scrooge (played by George Cole later to be Flash Harry of St. Trinians and Arthur Daly of Minder) is told by his sister when she comes to his boarding school to collect him to come home for Christmas, that he will never be alone again. Then again when the Ghost of Christmas Past takes him to his sisters death bed and he hears what he missed at the time of her death, that she asks him to take care of her boy. It is a truly beautiful film, a perfect cast, It brings tears and joy every time I watch it, and I have read the book too. For me the film has no faults, I will never tire of watching it as it brings happy memories of my childhood and I still get the same pleasure from it as I did at the first watching.
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For many, Alistair Sim's Scrooge is THE definitive one - he even reprised the role for Richard Williams and Chuck Jones' striking half hour animated adaptation from 1971, which is sadly not included here - playing down his usual bemused or befuddled whimsy remarkably effectively for something altogether more bitter. Still, good as this is, one can't help feeling that the definitive version of Dickens' story has yet to be made, although, despite going into far more detail than Dickens ever did about the early days of Scrooge and Marley to build up Jack Warner's part, this does offer one of the best. The budget limitations may make themselves known in a few scenes but there's still a good supporting cast of familiar British character actors (Mervyn Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Michael Hordern, George Cole, Ernest Thesiger, Miles Malleson, Kathleen Harrison, Hattie Jacques, Peter Bull and Francis De Wolff among them) and a great Richard Addinsell score as well, though that's somewhat dulled on the mix on this DVD. Yet the film's popularity does mean that can be hard finding a decent copy amid all the public domain releases of the title. The best UK release thus far is DD/Simply Home Entertainment's two-disc set (though VCI's 60th Anniversary region-free US Blu-ray easily beats it for picture quality with an astonishingly good transfer), which amasses a decent array of extras that they seem to have gone out of their way not to publicise.

Disc One offers a very decent transfer of the film in its original black and white glory with an audio commentary and on-camera interview with George Cole, who played the young Ebenezer. Also included is the 1914 Charles Rock silent version A Christmas Carol, a 1950 radio play with Alec Guinness (who would go on to make a bit of a pig's ear of Marley's Ghost in the 1970 musical version) and a stills and poster gallery. Disc Two includes a colorized version of the feature with an introduction by Patrick MacNee in one of the naffest Christmas study sets you've seen in a long time (check out those flashing Christmas tree lights). Colorization's not a good idea at the best of times, but with the film's cinematography playing up the darkness and shadows of this convincingly Victorian ghost story, it's a particularly bad idea here: it's akin to looking at the old hand-coloured stills of the thirties - the colours never look natural (although the snow is very convincing) and you find yourself constantly tempted to reach for the colour control and go back to black and white (although this leaves you with a print that is soft, to say the least).

Still, it's easily enough ignored since the disc has both versions, and the second disc also includes another silent version of A Christmas Carol from 1922 as well as a couple of featurettes - one on the director, 'The Legendary Brian Desmond Hurst' (although he showed more effort here than the norm, Hurst was more journeyman than auteur) and another on the Traditions of Christmas, a 1964 radio version with Ralph Richardson, a stills gallery drawn from a tie-in edition published when the film came out, and an informative booklet. All in all it's a rather splendid package, though it's a pity they couldn't have found a copy of the film's trailer to round out the package.
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on 28 October 2009
A Christmas Carol [DVD] [1951] [US Import]
Yes Alistair Sim is definitely the ultimate Scrooge,others have paid their own homage to Dicken's tortured anti hero,George C Scott gave a memorable performance as did Patrick Stewart and in the recent musical version Kelsey Grammar was fantastic,in my estimation it way out did the original musical by far,i have all the versions of A christmas carol including several different cartoon renderings ,i have the Alkistair Sim in black and white but have been trying to find a colorised version like i had on video format,at last i am given the chance and with bonus versions to boot.
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on 11 May 2006
The definitive version of the much-loved Christmas story, with the incomparable Alastair Sim in the title role. The story is beautifully and movingly told - the scenes when Scrooge's resentment of his nephew beginning at Fan's deathbed is explained, and later, when a reformed Scrooge arrives at his nephew's party to beg forgiveness from his neice are outstanding. A masterpiece - go and buy it now, even though it's May!!
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on 6 October 2011
For me the best Christmas film ever and this double disc remastered version is the one to buy. Alastair Sim was born to play Scrooge and Michael Hordern makes a genuinely terrifying Marley's Ghost. Beautifully and atmospherically shot and (overly twee Cratchit children aside - "Martha, come and listen to the pudding singing in the copper!") stuffed full of great British character actor performances. The recent Disney animated version is more faithful to the book and runs this a close second, but this version captures the spirit like no other. A beautiful and quite literally haunting film.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 October 2011
This is possibly the best adaptation yet of Dickens 'A Christmas Carol'. The film keeps to the spirit of the tale, even if it 'back fills' some of the story with some additional material that some fans of the original tale might find a tad irksome.

The part of Scrooge was made for Alistair Sims. He convincingly take us from the callous usurer that we meet at the film's beginning, on to being an ever more abject figure suffering the purgatory of realization and remorse. What a lovely pay-off at the films end, Sims evocation of Scrooge's butterfly like transformation into that most genial of genial great uncle figures, a man we would all like meet, if not be. It's a towering performance, and I'm sure, one not soon forgotten.

I love this movie- o.k. the print quality is not the best, but in every other way, this is a great way to spend 86 mins of your life. And if you don't shed a tear anticipating the death of Tiny Tim, then you either haven't a pulse or maybe you have some 'issues' that can only be resolved with reference to a trained professional.

The bonus colourised scenes are interesting but add little to the overall impact of the experience. This film was made in B+W for a good reason-because the drama becomes so much involving and laden with atmosphere with its use. Who can forget the appearance of Marley - Michael Horden at his chain rattling dismal best... no amount of added hues, would improve what is already up there on the screen....

So, highly recommended.
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on 18 September 2009
This version is undoubtedly the best ever. I bought it for my own pleasure and was delighted to find that my grandchildren love and prefer this version also.
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