No matter which holidays you do or do not celebrate this winter season it is hard to argue the life lessons that can be garnered from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” which was originally published in 1843. Since the story has been around for over 150 years most will know it. For those of you who haven’t read or watched this classic tale, it is the story of the rich and heartless Ebenezer Scrooge who after being visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future has a transformation into a kinder man full of love, generosity and the ‘Christmas Spirit’. It’s a story of redemption that has been parodied in everything from The Simpsons to Sesame Street. Over the years there has been countless film adaptions to this tale, so if you’re looking to mix it up this holiday season with a different version to your favorite tale some other versions.
1) Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) – In this Disney twist on a the Dickens’ tale Mickey Mouse (Bob Cratchit) is the employee of Scrooge McDuck (Ebenezer Scrooge). The first ghost – of Christmas Past – is none other than the guide to our conscience, Jiminy Cricket. It is an animated short but it packs the same moral punch, but in bite sized bits you can show the kids you babysit for (or have, if they happen to belong to you). Of note, this film was the last time Clarence Nash voiced Donald Duck.
2) The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992) – With Micheal Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge and a whole array of Muppets – including Kermit and Miss Piggy as the Cratchit – as many of the other main characters in this musical rendition, The Muppets Christmas Carol is a must see adaption. While it may be comedic film with contemporary songs, it follows the original plot closely. The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come is Dementor-like and spooky enough to haunt the younger kids. A must see.
3) Scrooge (1970) – Yet another musical adaption of Charles Dickens’ story, but this time filmed in London and starred by Albert Finney. Finney won a Golden Globe for his acting in this as he plays both the young and old Scrooge, so it must be stellar. Only downside to this adaption is the extended Christmas Yet To Come, when Scrooge falls into his grave instead of waking up he first falls all the way down into Hell and sees Marley yet again.
4) Scrooge (1935) – If ghosts are too spooky for this holiday season this old school version featuring Seymour Hicks as the miser Scrooge might be the one for you. Most of the ghosts are not actually visible on screen, their voices can just only be heard. The only ghost visable it the least spooky of them all, the Ghost of Christmas Present. It is also the first feature length film based on A Christmas Carol that had sound to it. This version is relatively truncated with Scrooge’s sister Fan as well as Fezziwig omitted from the script.
5) A Christmas Carol (1999) – Sir Patrick Stewart (who also played Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men series and Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek) plays Scrooge in this turn of the century adaption. It is more grim than other telling’s of this classic, but is still good to the plot. Good luck seeing him as only Ebenezer Scrooge and not a powerful telepath super hero.