The Best “Christmas Carols” — from “Bah humbug” to “God bless us everyone!”

Posted on December 21, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is my favorite Christmas story and I love it in just about any of its movie incarnations. “Bah, humbugs” have been muttered by Scrooges played by top-notch dramatic actors like George C. Scott and Albert Finney, former Miss America Vanessa Williams, former Fonzie Henry Winkler, and former Saturday Night Live star Bill Murray. I love them all. But here are my very favorites, the ones I try to watch every year.
5. Mickey’s Christmas Carol Who better to play Scrooge than his namesake Scrooge McDuck? And who better for the part of the unquenchable Bob Cratchit than Mickey Mouse? This compilation DVD includes other Christmas goodies “The Small One” and “Pluto’s Christmas Tree.”
4. The Muppet Christmas Carol has the distinguished actor Michael Caine as Scrooge and the equally distinguished Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit. Special mention of A Sesame Street Christmas Carol as well.
3. Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. The voice talent is outstanding, with Broadway star Jack Cassidy (father of teen idols David and Shaun) as Bob Cratchit and of course Jim Backus as Mr. Magoo, in this version an actor playing the part of Scrooge. The tuneful songs were written by Bob Merrill and Jule Styne, who later went on to write “Funny Girl.” (The legend is that their song “People” was originally written for this movie.)
2. A Christmas Carol This MGM classic features the top stars of the 1930’s. Watch for future “Lassie” star June Lockhart as one of the Cratchit children — her real-life father Gene Lockhart played Bob. (He also appears in another Christmas classic, as the judge in Miracle on 34th Street.)
1. A Christmas Carol This is the all-time best, with the inimitable Alistair Sim as Scrooge. There has never been a more embittered miser or a more jubilent Christmas morning rebirth. When he orders that turkey for the Cratchits and walks into his nephew’s celebration at the end, everything Dickens hoped for from his story is brought to life.

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12 Replies to “The Best “Christmas Carols” — from “Bah humbug” to “God bless us everyone!””

  1. I believe the Alistair Sim version is usually called “Scrooge,” but I agree absolutely that it is the best.
    When Sim’s Scrooge visits his nephew’s house on Christmas morning and hears the party singing “Barbara Allen,” I defy anyone not to be moved by Sim’s reaction, both laughing and crying, realizing that he cannot recover all the wasted years and that he’s cheated himself out of at least one kind of love permanently, that of a spouse.
    My second favorite is the musical version with Albert Finney (he is a marvelous Scrooge) and my third favorite is “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” which is still one of the best.

  2. You’re right that the Sim version is often called “Scrooge.” And “Barbara Allen” has been one of my favorite songs ever since I saw that scene for the first time. It brings tears to my eyes every time I see it — the look on his face you described so well, abashed, not quite willing to believe he deserves a second chance, and the face of his nephew’s wife as well, so happy and welcoming. In the words of the Albert Finney musical version, “Thank you very much!”

  3. I agree that Sims’ Scrooge is undeniably one of the best, although Henry Winkler’s rendition made me proud to have been such a fan of his for all the years of ‘Happy Days’ when his character was not exactly along the caliber of a Shakespeare or Dickens. He showed me then that he had a range that had not begun to be tapped and has since turned in many a fine performance in all genres — although all too few! I believe that he not only acted the lead, but began his illustrious career as a director in that film as well. However, I do want to tip my hat to the person really responsible for all the many fine performances whether traditional, modern or even animated –Charles Dickens!!! Without the amazing writing and character development from one of the premiere, classic authors of all time, we would not have a thing to discuss! God bless us everyone! Merry Christmas!

  4. I happen to think George C. Scott was the best Scrooge, by far.
    First, I give him a huge amount of credit for making a VERY familiar character (I’ve lost track of how many versions of “A CHristmas Carol” I’d already seen) seem fresh.
    Second, unlike most Scrooges before, George C. Scott gave as good as he got. He wasn’t so quick to acknowledge that he’d been wrong all his life. When Scott’s Scrooge quipped that everyone saying “Merry Christmas” should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with holly through his heart, why, he was PLEASED with himself! He thought he’d made a rather clever remark.
    I loved the verbal sparring between Scott and Edward Woodward (a wonderful Spirit of Christmas Past). In those exchanges, we see that Scrooge has many deep regrets about his life and his actions, but is also very proud of himself. He’s risen from nothing to become a very wealthy and respected businessman, and he’s not about to dismiss his very real accomplishments as quickly as may other movie/TV Scrooges have.

  5. Hello,
    For years since I first saw the “Scrooge” movie,was around 1986, I have been looking for the same version I saw on television. Can you help me? I am looking for the one where Scrooge is fat w/a big belly, and when he finally sees the light and starts being nice, there is an episode that he starts jumping on the bed that has tall bed posts while in his night shirt and then goes to the window and calls out to the children. He then is a fat jolly man.
    If anyone can help me find this version of “Scrooge”, I would be so grateful.

  6. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and both the nimatd and live versins of How The Grich Stole CXhristmas are on our family’s msut see list.
    Along with the endless viewing of A Christmas Story ove on TNT

  7. Alistair Sims scared me and the ghost of Christmas future haunted me for years. Mr Maggo was my first real taste of Dicken’s tale that did not intimidate me. Now I love Dickens and appreciate all its forms. I do like Murray as a modern day Scrooge. I also like the Black Adder variation on the story – warped but still wonderful.

  8. The Song “God Bless us everyone” from the Christmas Carol with Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge ( The Musical): I CAN’T FIND IT ON THE INTERNET.
    Please help/

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