Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Christmas Carol (1938)

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Starring: Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, Terry Kilburn, Barry MacKay, Lynne Carver, Leo G. Carroll, Lionel Braham, Ann Rutherford, D'Arcy Corrigan, Ronald Sinclair

It seems that nothing nice can be said about Ebenezer Scrooge (Owen). His nephew Fred (MacKay), a jovial young man who wants nothing more than to marry his love Bess (Carver), does nothing but irritate him. Not to mention the wasted supportive nature of Bob Cratchit (Lockhart), his loyal employee dealing with a young family including his sickly son 'Tiny Tim' (Kilburn), whom Scrooge treats like a slave. On Christmas Eve, the arrogant man is warned by his long-deceased partner Marley (Carroll) of three spirits arriving to help show his hateful nature.

Most known production of the classic Charles Dickens novel, apart from the winning formula The Muppets brought in 1992, is a very basic, simple re-telling that like most MGM films has a very upbeat look about things. It's simplicity is a key ingredient and that optimistic nature is something very present in producer and later writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz' repertoire (think The Philadelphia Story)

Owen, in the role originally intended for Lionel Barrymore, plays it over-the-top and is only really brought back to Earth thanks to the charming presences of MacKay, Kilburn, Carroll, Braham as the Spirit of Christmas Present, Rutherford as the Spirit of Christmas Past and on-screen & real-life husband and wife team, the Lockhart's.


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