Monday, December 22, 2014

A Christmas Carol (1938)

A creditable, if somewhat truncated, adaptation of the Dickens Christmas classic. Reginald Owen gives a fine performance as Scrooge, though he never quite embodies the character so completely in the way that Alastair Sim would later, and as a result his transformation is less effective. This is not helped by the fact that the emphasis of the story here is shifted on to Bob Cratchit (delightfully portrayed by Gene Lockhart) and his family, while moving rather quickly through the past episodes of Scrooge's life (and omitting entirely the subplot of his first, lost love).

It's a typically first-rate MGM production, though sometimes a bit too elaborate in its design (especially the Cratchit home), which detracts from the grim atmosphere that provides a stark and striking contrast with the merrymaking and joy of the holiday. While it may not hold up as well as the classic 1951 Alastair Sim version, this is still a fine filming of the story, and certainly captures the spirit of Dickens' timeless story.

No comments: