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9 Days to Christmas: The Classics of the 1930s

December 16, 2012

By John C.

Scrooge (1935) DVD CoverWith just nine days left until the big day, welcome to the official start of our Christmas Countdown, where we will be profiling classics from the each of the nine decades from the 1930s to the 2010s.

I could have started even earlier, making note of some of the earliest cinematic achievements that concerned themselves with the holidays.  But the 1930s were a time when technological advancements were allowing the magic of movies to start reaching an even wider audience, and Christmas movies really started to take off.  The decade also saw two adaptations of Charles Dickens’ beloved masterpiece A Christmas Carol, which is one of my favourite holiday stories of all time.  The first one was Scrooge (1935), a British production starring Seymour Hicks that is worth checking out, differing from the other tellings of the story in that it is has many of the ghosts appear off screen.

A Christmas Carol (1938) PosterMetro Goldwyn-Meyer responded in kind three years later, with A Christmas Carol (1938), starring Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge.  I just recently picked up a copy of the film on DVD, and it’s a worth seeing adaptation of the story that is notable for its good performances and strong entertainment value over a running time of just 69 minutes.  What’s interesting about this version is that it adds some scenes with Bob Cratchit (Gene Lockhart) and his family, opening with Scrooge’s nephew Fred (Barry MacKay) walking down the street, instead of the usual introduction to the main character.

This 1938 adaptation of A Christmas Carol is a good counterpart to the 1951 version with Alistair Sim, The Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine as well as the most recent Disney one with Jim Carrey, all of which we will be profiling later in the week.  Tomorrow, the classics of the 1940s…

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