Thursday, December 19, 2013

Only five versions of Dickens' Christmas Carol

TCM's prime-time lineup for tonight is a slute to Charles Dickens' story A Christmas Carol. This starts at 8:00 PM with Scrooge, which I've briefly mentioned before; it's a musical version from 1970 starring Albert Finney as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Second up is the 1951 Alistair Sim version at 10:00 PM, which TCM's schedule has listed as A Christmas Carol, although I could swear I've also seen the title Scrooge for it; I think that's one of thost UK vs. USA title differences that show up from time to time.

The third version, at 11:30 PM, is a new one to me; a British version from 1935 again titled Scrooge, and will be followed by the late 1930s MGM version at 1:00 AM.

The last version might be the most curious, A Carol for Another Christmas at 2:15 AM. This is a 1964 made-for-TV movie starring Sterling Hayden in the Scrooge role, as a man who lost his son during the Korean War, and as such is thoroughly against the United Nations and its "peacekeeping" operations. So the UN sends the ghosts of Christmas wars past, present, and future to convince Hayden why the UN is unbeli8evably virtuous. This was commissioned by the United Nations, funded in part by Xerox, and is incredi bly propagandistic and unsubtle, even compared to something like I Want to Live!. It may be worth seeing once for the historical value, but if you find yourself irritated with its bluntness (although to be fair, A Christmas Carol is by its nature a bit blunt), don't say I didn't warn you.

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