Movie Review: A Christmas Carol (1938)

Synopsis: Wealthy miser Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits tasked with helping him regain his Christmas spirit before he spends eternity walking the earth wearing chains.

Who's in it? The movie stars Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Barry MacKay, Ann Rutherford and Lynne Carver.

Review: My youngest daughter had a Christmas-themed dance recital at one of the local assisted living homes today and, a short time before leaving for that, I came across this film on one of our movie channels. It had been a while since I had seen this version of this movie so I ended up recording it so I had a chance to watch it when we got home.

While I still think I prefer the 1984 George C. Scott version, this one did have its moments.

Reginald Owen does an excellent job as the infamous Scrooge. He is very believable and, at times, pretty intimidating. He's definitely not someone I'd want to work for and I did feel bad for Bob Cratchit (Lockhart) as a result of that.

I also thought Ann Rutherford was one of the best Ghosts of Christmas Past I've seen portrayed. She was beautiful and disarming, playing the role the way I would expect it to be played.

My biggest complaint about this movie is the way Scrooge makes his transition from Christmas-hating miser to being in love with the holiday. Rather than have it happen gradually, he seems to be fully cured of his misery habits by the second ghost (Lionel Braham), making the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (D'Arcy Corrigan) a bit of overkill. As a result, I would have preferred to see him still be on the fence a bit by the time the third spirit came to visit.

Final Opinion: It's not my favorite version of this movie. But, it's not a terrible interpretation of the Charles Dickens' classic either and I did enjoy watching it this afternoon.

My Grade: B


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