With the countdown to Christmas well and truly on its way, we have decided to task X-Geek Ben with putting together the list of his best adaptions of Charles Dickens classic Christmas story, A Christmas Carol.
While there have been numerous adaptions over the years, both bad and good, what makes the best adaptions stand out from the rest?
We can safely say there are some classic versions in this top five, and we are pretty confident that there will be plenty of discussion in regards to what will be crowned as the best adaption of all time.
So without further delay, let the countdown begin!
5 – Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988)
While not a true adaption in the traditional sense, this classic comedic parody from Ben Elton and Richard Curtis is up there with the best of them. In a total reversal from the traditional ‘Scrooge’ character, Rowan Atkinson’s Ebenezer Blackadder is the kindest man in England. It is only after Robbie Coltrane’s Spirit of Christmas visits him, that Blackadder’s kindness dissipates, and by the end of the episode he is left greedy and selfish.
This one-off special had all the classic hallmarks of the Blackadder team, and if you want iconic British comedy with a festive feel, then Blackadder’s Christmas Carol is the perfect fit.
4 – Scrooged (1988)
Another parody adaption in the top five? Well, with Bill Murray’s performance in Scrooge it was always going to be there.
A modern (at the time) take on the classic story see Bill Murray as a high-powered TV executive tasked with overseeing a live broadcast of A Christmas Carol. At this point in his career, Murray is in his pomp, producing an outlandish and yet at times humble performance. The film is very much more of a dark comedy, but still feels right at home as a classic Christmas movie.
3 – Scrooge (1951)
Widely considered as the best adaption of the Charles Dickens tale, the story is very traditional and true to the original novella, bar a few minor creative changes. This iconic version sees Alastair Sim take on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. Sim’s haunting and emotive performance as Scrooge is remarkable, a truly outstanding role that he makes his own. For many, he is THE Ebenezer Scrooge. One of the most fascinating aspects of Sim’s performance was his eyes. He is able to unnerve you at times, but during the film’s final act those haunting, expressive eyes fill the screen with unprecedented warmth.
2 – The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)
For many of us, it just isn’t Christmas without watching The Muppets Christmas Carol. Following the death of Jim Henson, his son Brian made his directorial debut with The Muppets Christmas Carol. Despite a large majority of the cast beings puppets, with added comedy and musical numbers, the story does follow very closely to the source material. For many children, this was their introduction to the story of A Christmas Carol, as it was mine when I was a child. As this was my first entry into the story, I was confused when I watched my next version as there was only one Jacob Marley! While mainly aimed at children, there is plenty of classic Muppets adult humour in there for good measure, and with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, some darker moments amongst the warmth and the songs.
1 – A Christmas Carol (1999)
A controversial pick for number one? But if you haven’t seen it then I am confident that a can justify its place in this top five. This made-for-TV movie sees Patrick Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge and Richard E. Grant as Bob Cratchit, who is not only perfectly cast but who also have great on-screen chemistry.
This traditional adaption ticks all the boxes with everything you could want from A Christmas Carol. It manages to perfectly blend the warmth and the darker moments of the story, while at the same time gives a refreshing gloss to this well-known tale.
Stewart is superbly dramatic and humorous, elevating every scene he is in. It has a stage production feel to it, which somehow makes the film that more engaging. The film also plays with just enough artistic licence to do its own thing that it truly stands out as the ultimate adaption of Charles Dickens classic Christmas story.
So there you have it. My top five picks for A Christmas Carol! Think I’ve got it wrong? Tell us your favourite version in the comments.
P.S Merry Christmas