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My favorite adaptation of my favorite Christmas tale
on 11 December 2002
Christmas just isn't Christmas unless you watch at least one version of A Christmas Carol, and this is by far my favorite. George C. Scott gives one of the greatest performances I have ever seen an actor give; he truly becomes Ebenezer Scrooge to the fullest degree possible. Scott can say more with just the slightest hint of a facial movement than many actors can say during the course of an entire movie. All of the performers here are excellent, bringing to life adored characters such as Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and Scrooge's nephew Fred. All four spirits are remarkable, none more so than Scrooge's old partner Jacob Marley; having Marley's jaw drop after untying the burial cloth holding his mouth closed is an important aspect of the story and certainly does make an impression on the viewer. This is just one example of the moviemakers' faithfulness to Charles Dickens' original story; another would be the inclusion of the two miserable children, Ignorance and Want, beneath the robes of the Ghost of Christmas Present.
This timeless tale works extremely well on its own, but the unsurpassed acting skills of Scott make it almost more than real. The change wrought in him during the course of the night, as he changes from a man of crass materialism and unkindness to a repentant soul pleading for a chance to change his ways, is powerfully presented and really touches the viewer emotionally. The simple happiness revealed in the lives of Bob Cratchit and others are as heart-warming as the forgotten mistakes and pains of a younger Scrooge are agonizing. If there is any heart out there that is not touched by the goodness and courage of Tiny Tim, I don't even want to know about it. No matter how many times you watch this movie, it proves itself capable of bringing a tear to your eye, a lump in your throat, and ultimately the very spirit of true holiday cheer and Christian charity that Dickens intended it to convey.
I cannot say I have seen every adaptation of A Christmas Carol, but I really cannot believe any other version could exceed the quality and emotional impact of this one. No matter how many times I read the story or watch the movie, it remains a source of eternal joy to me. This is more than a movie for me; it is an important and necessary part of each and every Christmas holiday season.