For as far back as I can remember the story of the Christmas Carol has been one my family has enjoyed during the holidays. As I have grown older and had children of my own more versions of this celebrated tale have been released and many of them have become family favorites. Here are our family’s picks for the perfect Christmas Carol movie night.
“A Christmas Carol” with George C. Scott (1984) as Ebenezer Scrooge is a fascinating depiction of the original Christmas Carol with Sir Seymour Hicks playing Scrooge. Since many of us find it difficult to adapt to black and white after watching color, this is a strong and accurate adaptation of the original. George C. Scott is such a “Scrooge” and his wrinkled visage is perfect for the grouchy old man turned philanthropist as the wrinkles lift and his fabulous smile is evident. The ghosts of Christmas past and present are delightfully entertaining and the costumes for both are perfectly Christmas with white and green. However, the ghost of Christmas future is a little scary for young ones, so you may want to save this movie for grownups only or include just the older children.
“Scrooged,” with Bill Murray (1988) is a quirky, comedic, modern day take on the old classic. Bill Murray stares as a ruthless television executive who will stop at nothing to make a dollar, including making everyone work on Christmas. Other stars include Karen Allen as Murray’s love interest; Danny Glover and Bob Goldthwait as ghosts. While I wish the script had been a little more edgy, to truly depict Bill Murray’s ability to make sarcasm hilarious, I did enjoy the modern day edge that this movie brings to the original Christmas Carol and how many of the events depict events from modern, every day life.
“A Christmas Carol,” with Patrick Stewart (1999) is captivating. It’s the voice of Patrick Stewart, from Star Trek Next Generation and X-Men as well as the special effects that take this movie above and beyond the original. The deep resounding voice of Patrick Stewart with its slight British accent as well as his overall coloring and appearance in costume truly brought the Scrooge to life. Some of the special effects such as a tunnel cloud to travel back in time with the Ghost of Christmas past and the specter of the Ghost of Christmas future keep you on the edge of your seat (without frightening the children) waiting to see what will happen next, though you know the ending.
For the Children;
“Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (1983) is a short cartoon based on the Christmas Carol story. Goofy is Jacob Marley’s ghost and Fred is played by Donald Duck. It is difficult to get this DVD alone, but you can get this with three other holiday stories featuring Mickey and the gang on Classic Cartoon Favorites, Vol. 9 – Classic Holiday Stories (The Small One/Pluto’s Christmas Tree/Mickey’s Christmas Carol)
This year the favorite Christmas Carol movie goes to “Barbie and A Christmas Carol.” Yes, it is an animated feature DVD with no well known actors but my daughters have enjoyed it and watched it over and over again. The story is told by Barbie, to her little sister Kelli about Eden Starling, famous singer and a female Ebenezer Scrooge. She takes advantage of her friends and employees and keeps them from friends and family over the holiday. After visits from her dead aunt and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future she rushes to the theater to give everyone gifts and the day off. She saves an orphanage from being shut down and encourages a romance between her best friend and one of the other theater workers. At the end she visits the family that adopted her young and every one has a very Merry Christmas. The colors are brilliant and the animation detailed and lifelike.
If you are looking for some family fun and a retelling of an old holiday favorite, try any one of these Christmas Carol movies. String popcorn (ok, eat more than you string) and have a beautiful evening at home with the family.