Daily Archives: December 13, 2011

The Many Faces of Dickens’ Christmas Carol

This time of year I like nothing better than popping in my DVD of A Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Since Charles Dickens first published his famous holiday novella in 1843 the story has taken on a life of its own, and enjoyed hundreds of re-publications, re-interpretations, and reimaginings.  Since I’ve shared my love of my favorite version of A Christmas Carol, I thought I might spend the rest of this post sharing some other favorite versions, both print and video, of this timeless tale.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: With 45 Lost Gustave Doré Engravings (1861) And 150 Other Victorian Illustrations ; introduction by Dan Malan

I love this edition for the Gustave Doré illustrations, and the loads of other great period drawings. It’s a very handsome book!

The field of children’s books has enjoyed dozens of dynamite re-tellings of Dickens’ tale of Christmas redemption, but none carry greater artistry and impact than artist Brett Helquist  and writer Josh Greenhut’s brooding yet ultimately hopeful adaptation.

Helquist’s evocative artwork (seen on the above cover) and Greenhurt’s tight, but faithful adaptation of Dickens’ text earned the pair great praise from School Library Journal and other sources. It’s suitable for grades 3 and up.

Plenty of animated versions exist, but the one I remember most fondly from my childhood remains Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol  directed by Abe Levitow.

With Mr. Magoo in the Scrooge role the story manages to be a bit more whimsical while  maintaining those scary, supernatural moments. The animation might seem crude by today’s lofty standards, but it does the job!

This post would not be complete without a mention of Bill Murray’s ScroogedDirector Richard Donner turns Mr. Murray loose on Dickens’ classic, and this modern (1988) re-telling possesses plenty of spirits (David Johansen among them)  and fun.

Carol Kane turns in a hilarious performance as a ghost who quite literally beats the Christmas spirit  into mean-spirited TV executive Frank Cross (Murray). Although ragged in places, Mr. Murray does his level best in this one, and delivers a performance as edgy as it is fun.

One cannot end any discussion of A Christmas Carol without mentioning the Muppet version!  The Muppet Christmas Carol features Jim Henson’s famous creations re-telling the classic tale.

Michael Cain as Scrooge?  Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit?  Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit?  Sign me up!  If you dig the Muppets and you haven’t seen this one yet, I can’t think of a better time to check it out!

I could go on and on listing further versions, but instead I’d like to ask folks what their favorite treatments of A Christmas Carol are. Well, got any notable ones I’ve missed?

Lets us know!

–Scott

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