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Alastair Sim's tour-de-force performance as the ultimate miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, has almost single-handedly made this beloved version of Charles Dickens' story into one of the best-loved Christmas films of all time. Some of Britain's best filmmakers united behind Sim, who was joined by a delightful cast of accomplished and acclaimed English actors; creating what many today believe to be the best and most faithful production of Dickens' immortal tale. Cranky and curmudgeonly Scrooge learns the error of his unkind ways and is taught the true meaning of the holidays when he is visited by the ghost of his late business partner and the spirits of Christmas past, present and future. Bonus Features: Audio Commentary by Marcus Hearn & George Cole, "Spirit of Christmas Past" - George Cole remembers Alastair Sim, "Richard Gordon Remembers George Minter & Renown Pictures", "Charles Dickens - His Life & Times", Bonus Colorized Version, Original American Theatrical Trailer, Original British Theatrical Trailer, Before & After Restoration Comparison, Optional English & Spanish Subtitles, Optional Narrative for the Blind, Photo & Press Book Gallery, Cast Bios, "Scrooge" 1935 Seymour Hicks Version Specs: 2-DVD9s; Dolby Digital 5.1; 86 minutes; B&W / Color; Aspect Ratio: B&W Restored Version - 1.33:1; Optional 16x9 Enhanced for Widescreen Monitors; Colorized Version - 1.33:1; MPAA - NR; Year - 1951; SRP - $19.99.
This is the desert-island choice of the many versions of A Christmas Carol, with a magnificent, full-bodied portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge by Alastair Sim that leaves everyone else in the dust. Lean and direct, this film's version of the story wastes no time trying to impress viewers with the magical nature of the spirits' visitations. Director Brian Desmond Hurst keeps the focus on Scrooge's life story, beautifully simplifying and underscoring the theme of lost women with a haunting musical refrain from the folk song "Barbara Allen." Sim's commitment to the role is at times astonishing; his Scrooge's Christmas-morning ecstasy is a marvel of giddy technique. Watch for Patrick Macnee Steed in The Avengers as the young Jacob Marley--the actor made his screen debut in this 1951 production. --Tom Keogh