Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Do you watch Christmas movies? Or do you avoid them? I watch them, but only in December, and then not after the Day itself. One must place some limitations upon even good things.
One show that I miss these days, but which I saw several times when I was young, is the half-hour animated version of A Christmas Carol. Do you remember it? I think it is one of the best versions of that story, in spite of its abbreviated length. I haven't seen it in many years, but I remember being impressed at the art work as a kid.
A Christmas Carol is my favorite seasonal tale. I first read the original story in about fifth grade when I purchased a paperback version of it from Scholastic Book Club; a volume which I still possess. I will seek out and watch almost any iteration of the tale that I can find. Even stupid versions; even sitcom versions.
Perhaps the best parody of it that I have seen is Blackadder's Christmas Carol, which I managed to record to DVD last night. In this version, Blackadder begins as the kind-hearted, generous soul that Scrooge became, and after a ghostly visitation decides that he has been played for a sap all his life and becomes decidedly miserly and ungenerous.
I haven't decided on a favorite movie version. The 1938 version with Alistair Sim is considered the definitive, but I don't think it's my favorite. I caught the version with George C. Scott again last night, and I thought it was better this time than the last time I saw it several years ago. George C. Scott is one of those actors who I have trouble seeing as anything other than George C. Scott. To me, he seems not to be his character, but is simply himself playing a character. The best actors make us forget who they really are, and for a short time we can pretend to believe that they are really the characters they are portraying. Last night he did seem to be more Scrooge than Scott. I suppose this is only a quirk of my own personality and perception, and not Scott's fault at all.
But if I were forced to choose right now, I think I would say that my current favorite is the version with Patrick Stewart as Scrooge, a version I sadly did not see this year, though I looked for it. Bill Murray's Scrooged is also very good, but I didn't see it this year, either. I did catch an older musical version on DVD, though I haven't watched it yet. Maybe tomorrow, or maybe I'll make an exception this year and watch it the day after. I'm not a big fan of musicals.
This is a story that will undoubtedly continue to be used for untold Christmases yet to come, and I have to say that there is one actor who has not portrayed Scrooge, but who I would love to see as the character: Christopher Walken. Can you imagine Christopher Walken as Scrooge? I can. Although, I think I would place the story in modern-day America, probably New York City. And let's go ahead and make it PG-13. I believe it would work.
I don't know why I'm so fascinated with this story, except that I think that sometimes I could really benefit from a ghostly visitation or two, myself.