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Thursday, December 1, 2005

The Casual Critic — A Christmas Carol

“Spellbinding special effects” was not what I wanted to see on the back of the new DVD of A Christmas Carol that I’d just been given by my mom last Christmas. Neither was the “TNT Original” logo.

I absolutely love A Christmas Carol. The 1951 version, A Christmas Carol (Original B&W Version), starring Alastair Sim airs around midnight every Christmas Eve on PBS, and you better believe I’m always watching. The pop of the old film, the at times terrible lighting, sound that most high school production teams would cringe at these days . . . it’s all part of the film, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Sim is Scrooge, his nearest rival a distant George C. Scott in the 1984 CBS made-for-TV version of A Christmas Carol.

So, I had to paste a smile on my face when I got the DVD. I mean, spellbinding special effects? TNT? C’mon.

Well, maybe mom really does know best. Patrick Stewart staked his own claim to the role of Scrooge with this performance. The special effects used mostly to get in and out of scenes only enhanced the film.

Joel Grey added to the film with a great Ghost of Christmas Past, though makeup deserves a lot of credit. There’s something freaky, almost oddly feminine about his portrayal that adds to the ghostly presence. Richard E. Grant’s slightly awkward Bob Cratchitt works well.

A Christmas Carol is quite possibly my favorite movie of all-time. (If Meg Ryan wasn’t so damn cute in You've Got Mail there’d be no debate.) I’ve seen almost every version available. So, it is only after plenty of consideration that I give TNT’s version my first can't ask for more to a movie. Make it a part of your holiday traditions.

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