Christmas Carol

I watched “A Christmas Carol” yesterday. Twice. First, I watched Allistair Sim’s version, from 1951, and then Patrick Stewart’s version from 1999.

Of course, I had seen the Sim one before. It’s been around for a while. It is pretty good, except that it takes a great deal of liberty with the story, adding huge bits about how Scrooge came into business, and squeezed Fezziwig out – stuff that’s not even suggested in the book. And they change Belle’s name to Alice and make her a worker in a homeless shelter, rather than a mother of a dozen or so kids frolicking around the christmas tree.

I had not sen the Stewart version before. Wow. It was truly amazing. Stewart has a knowledge of the story that few other people have. He’s been doing a live reading/enactment of the story for more than 10 years now, and knows the story inside and out. He takes a few liberties with the story, but only those which help to explain a few of the more obscure details to a modern audience. The only thing that I really didn’t care for was the narration, which was injected a few times to fill in some details, and was the voice of Fred. Somehow it didn’t seem right to have Fred narrating it. Also of great interest to me was the graveyard scene, which borrows something from the Mickey Mouse version of the story! I’ve not seen this bit put into the story by anyone else, and so it immediately brought to mind Scrooge McDuck. That was somewhat distracting, but I suppose that it was still a very effective addition, even though it is also not mentioned in the book. Finally, I *REALLY* liked the end of the Christmas Past scene. I feel that it is one of the most symbolic bits of the entire story, and it has never been shown in any other movie rendition.

Yes, I’m being vague, because I don’t want to give away the good parts to anyone who might end up seeing this version. If you want to watch a Christmas Carol movie, this is the one to see. Absolutely fabulous, and more true to the spirit of the story than any other that I have yet seen. And I have … um … several.