Thursday, December 28, 2006

Which Scrooge is the Best?

I know that Christmas is over but I'm doing this one anyway. I spent Christmas Day watching the George C. Scott version of a Christmas Carol. I really think that this is the best although there are some close runners-up.

During the 1970s CBS had an annual tradition of showing the musical version "Scrooge". When they announced a new, non-musical version people asked, "Why?" Aside form it being the first serious remake in a generation, the real answer comes from watching it. It is really good. I was never a fan of Scott but I really liked him as Scrooge. Many other cast members were also fairly distinguished. The script is very true to Dickens with many of the lines being copied straight.

There are some other versions that deserve mention. I always enjoyed the Mr. McGoo version and it holds up surprisingly well. The Muppet version was very enjoyable and Bill Murray did a good job of updating the role for the 1980s.

I don't care a bit for the 1938 or the 191 versions and I was disappointed by the Patrick Stewart one.

There are innumerable other versions. This is one of the two most overused plots for Christmas specials (the other is It's a Wonderful Life). Interestingly, both involve time-travel and alternate worlds. As a twist, in Blackadder's Christmas Carol, Blackadder starts as the nicest man in England and changes when he sees his past and future. In the WKRP version, Mr. Carlson, the station manager, has visions after eating some questionable brownies. Other version are more strained.

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