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1951's A Christmas Carol (originally, Scrooge) is considered the definitive adaptation of Dickens' work, and it must be. There are so many scenes here, the other adaptations I remember feel like CliffsNotes! But then, some of the material, especially Scrooge's rise in business, expands away from the original story (and there are other, slight deviations). The overall effect is to better justify Scrooge's eventual turn, show exactly where he went wrong, where he was corrupted, where he lost faith in people. So Alastair Sim is a more sympathetic Scrooge than most and when he does turn, he gives a giddy, infectious, even touching performance. The heart swells because most of the film reads more like a spooky horror story than a Christmas fable (indeed, it was originally released in the States on Halloween, which seems perfect), so when Scrooge wakes up, the world really has changed... which is the Christmas promise, after all.
I'm surprised that this is only on three official lists as of now. I love Alastair Sim's performance and this is my favorite Christmas Carol adaption.
Without a doubt the best version of the classic Christmas tale, I have to watch it at least once every holiday season.
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #39 in IMDb's Fantasy Top 50
This movie ranks #49 in IMDb's 1950s Top 50
This movie ranks #742 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown