Amongst the many stories told during the holiday season, everyone has a favorite version of "A Christmas Carol" told by Charles Dickens. The well-told and much beloved story is about a cynical banker named Ebenezer Scrooge, who has become the figurehead of anyone who shows negativity towards the joyful holiday season. One night, when he is visited by the ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marley, who tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Future. The visits are supposed to change Scrooge's heart of coal into a more generous and kind person, but will he change? Although "A Christmas Carole" has been adapted almost twenty times in film, here are 4 of our favorite adaptations of "A Christmas Carol."
1. "A Christmas Carole "(1938). Directed by Edwin L. Marin. Starring Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart and Kathleen Lockhart. The film was originally intended to star Lionel Barrymore, but the actor had to bow out from the project due to health concerns, when Reginald Owen stepped into the role. The Lockhart family make their appearance as the Cratchitt family in this adaptation with Kathleen playing "Mrs. Cratchitt", Gene Lockhart (Kathleen's husband) plays Bob Cratchit and their daughter June Lockhart plays "Belinda Cratchit" but remains uncredited for her role.
2. "Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol" (1962). Directed by Abe Levitow. Starring Jim Backus, Morey Amsterdam and Jack Cassidy. Although it's not necessarily a classic film, it is a classic adaptation of the story featuring one of the more beloved animated characters, Mr. Magoo. It is also considered to be the closest to the original Dickens story.
3. "Scrooge" (1970). Directed by Ronald Neame. Starring Albert Finney, Alec Guinness and Edith Evans. Finney's stunning portrayal of Scrooge is, without a doubt one of the best. This film, adapted from the stage, takes a different approach to the story and turns the story into a layered, wonderful musical. It's remarkable to see that Finney was only 34 years old at the time but he is able to craft a fully-fleshed older and younger Scrooge.
4. "Scrooged" (1988). Directed by Richard Donner. Starring Bill Murray, Karen Allen and Carole Kane. This is is a film that may not be everyone's favorite, but it has achieved cult status over the past twenty years. Retold for modern times, Murray portrays "Frank Cross", a cynical television executive that is producing a live broadcast of "A Christmas Carol" when he is visIted by his mentor - Lew Hayward one late night at the office. He is then visited by three Ghosts including the Ghost of Christmas Present, portrayed by Carol Kane as a punch-loving pixie fairy. Not recommended for the viewing of children due to the dark imagery and comedy.