Under the Radar DVD of the Week: 'A Christmas Carol' (1951)
This week, the oddest DVD to appear on release lists is:
“A Christmas Carol” (1951)
Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” has been adapted for the screen literally dozens of times, with various odd incarnations that even feature Mr. Magoo, the Muppets the Flintstones, the Smurfs and Barbie. But the version most widely regarded as the all-time best was the black-and-white British production starring Alastair Sim that was released in 1951 (due out Tuesday on a new bonus-packed DVD).
Directed by Irishman Brian Desmond Hurst and featuring a stellar cast of British thespians, this version is considered to be the most faithful to Dickens’ holiday tale of a curmudgeonly London businessman who, through a long night of visitations from Christmas ghosts, learns the error of his miserly ways.
Sim’s astringent but sympathetic depiction of Ebenezer Scrooge stands out among a strong roster of distinguished actors who’ve essayed the juicy role – including Reginald Owen in a dour 1938 adaptation, Albert Finney in a 1970 musical version and George C. Scott in a highly praised 1984 made-for-TV movie. Sim himself revisited the role in 1971, providing the voice of Scrooge for an Oscar-winning animation version of the story.
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