We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, December 13. 2015
Readers know that, at Maggie's Farm, we delight in both the religious and the secular hedonistic aspects of Advent and Christmas.
The hedonistic, fun aspects of the season are residues of the Roman Saturnalia. At Maggie's, we love our invitations to Christmas cocktail parties. The fathers of the church were clever to recycle popular pagan feast days by pinning Christian feast days on top of them (eg Easter, Christmas).
Our Puritan New England ancestors hated Christmas and banned its celebration for many years. Pagan and Papist.
The best Advent sermon I ever heard was preached by a lady pastor. She used the metaphor of pregnancy - "expecting" - for the possibility of Christ's spirit growing in our hearts and the expectation of that miracle.
On the topic of birth and re-birth, I still feel that A Christmas Carol combines the religious joy and the secular pleasures of Christmas better than anything else. Scrooge becomes a re-born Christian and experiences all of the emotional turmoil and joys of it. Psychoanalysis before it existed.
Of course Dickens' short novel is worth reading, but the only version worth watching is the 1951 Alastair Sim version. It is better than the Dickens.
Whether Jewish, Moslem, Christian, Hindu, atheist, or whatever, if it doesn't bring a tear to your eye you are probably subhuman.
We should air-drop dvds of it across Islam, including Euroland. Might do them some good.
Find Your Inner Scrooge
Thanks to a recommendation at Maggie’s Farm, and to a pally who knows how to work a Netflix queue, I watched a 1951 version of A Christmas Carol. (The film’s credits actually show the title as “Scrooge”.) I’ve never read the
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People argue about the relative merits of various actors in certain rolls.....there ca be no doubt, Alistair Simm is Ebenezer Scrooge.
I totally agree with you BD, that that 1951 British version was the best. Next time you watch it, look for the director and staff in the mirror while Scrooge is looking at himself at the sink after his renewal!
There's a quite brilliant version with Patrick Stewart.
Jean-Luc plays a hell of a Scrooge.
I got the privilege of seeing Stewart perform this. It was amazing both in terms of such wonderful acting and that a single performer, uncostumed, with barely more than a chair and small table for props, could transport his audience to Victorian England.
Jean-luc does indeed a fine job but he still stands in the shadow of a true great of English cinema.
Damn Dog, yall rewrite history to fantasy as well as any centrist liberal comin' up a pike.
"N" on top all the fall de rall, what the hell kind of Church has a female pastor?
Yall sound as lame as the Muslim's who managed to get their black asses arrested this week.
The Alastair Sim version has always been my favorite which makes it the best. The science is settled.
I could never watch any other rendition. They all seemed so amateurish compared to the English version. Alistair Simm was brilliant! Someone told me about the "mirror scene". I never noticed it before that and it's pretty obvious.
George C. Scott does a good Scrooge. So does Michael Cain from the Muppet's version, and don't forget Mr Magoo.
The all time favorite Alastair Sim hands down.
The Alistair Sim SCROOGE, to give it it's proper name, is the one I enjoy the most, but I have to say that 1970's musical SCROOGE, with Albert Finney is, in many ways, just as good. I like how you can see Scrooge realizing that he is the cause of his own misery, when visited by the Spirits.
Magoo is pretty good, too.
Interesting commentary. Kind of like the eternal debate over who is the best Dr. Who. :>)
Personally? I like the Partick Stewart version a lot in comparison to the Alistair Sim film - much like I prefer his Captain Ahab to Gregory Peck's. The first isn't always the best.
In my opinion that is and we all know what they say about opinions. :>)
I'm going to be a complete heretic and insist that the best and only version I will watch is "Scrooge" with Albert Finney. That version with Bill Murray should be obliterated and all memory of it erased from all human minds.
Totally agree with Kathryn! Albert Finney is the definitive Scrooge and my family favorite. We traditionally watch it together the day after Thanksgiving so everyone is singing "thank you very much" all weekend. The music is lovely.
The Bill Murray version is worth it just for the performance of Carol Kane as the Ghost of Xmas Present.
The George C. Scott version has always been my favorite... but just yesterday I went to the local theater, put on the 3-D glasses and watched the Disney version starring Jim Carrey. Folks... this will absolutely blow your mind! Just about fell out of my chair. You'll crap your pants when Jacob Marley comes calling, and the exit of the ghost of Christmas Present is hard to shake out of my mind. This work has to be seen... you'll be re-evaluating every other Christmas Carol you've ever known.
While the visuals in the Disney CGI version are stunning, it is a poor adaptation of the story. Worse, CGI enabled Disney to present us with some of the interesting vignettes that previous films leave out. The CGI Ghost of Christmas Present could have taken Scrooge to the Christmas celebration aboard the storm tossed ship and the 3D spectacle of Scrooge flying among jagged rocks and crashing waves as he is dragged to the lighthouse would have been much more amazing than the silly chase scene.
We are also denied the mosaic tiled fireplace where all of the figures come to life, stop what they are doing, and stare out at Scrooge, each with Jacob Marley's face. If they had to include the hearse, the book mentions that Scrooge's main staircase is large enough to turn a carriage on, so they could have had his candlelight chase a ghostly hearse up the stairs. If they spent more time reading the book, it would have been both a more visually stunning film and more faithful to the book.
What cements the Alistair Sim A Christmas Carol well ahead of any other film adaptation is that when I went to purchase it from my local HMV store, it was not displayed in the rack of Christmas themed DVD's, but among the DVD's of films starting with "C", as they stock it all year round. Micheal Hordern's Jacob Marley is an amazing performance. If I were to direct another CGI version of the book, I would steal a page from Chuck Jones*, whose adaptation used the Alistair Sim movie to supply all of the voices. I can imagine the Disney CGI Marley speaking in Micheal Hordern's voice, can you?
* The Chuck Jones adaptation of A Christmas Carol looks like nothing else that he has done and sounds like he did not just get the same actors as the Alistair Sim version, but used the same recordings.
The fathers of the church were clever to recycle popular pagan feast days by pinning Christian feast days on top of them
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
(sound of Jewish poster biting his tongue in the holiday spirit)
Look a little closer, a little deeper, and you will find that those feast days have their roots in Judaic history and real Christian history. The documents are there. Just because the Vatican library is called "secret" doesn't mean it isn't accessible.
I really enjoy the Alastair Sim version, but the George C. Scott version is the only one I own.
While A Christmas Carol is a great story, I have always wondered how much of a boost it gave to the rise of socialism? After all, if shaming someone into giving their money to the poor is good, it is but a short step in logic to conclude that forcing the redistribution of wealth is even a better way to help the poor. As for the different movies. I go with George C Scott. Best scrooge ever, with honorable mention to Mr. Magoo.
How you make the connection to socialism is beyond me. I always took it to be about a person who had shut himself off from his human side that reconnected to a spirit of christian kindness. To me socialsim and christianity are polar opposites, though I do know there are people who believe the two share basic principles.
I have both the 1938 version (with Reginald Owen) and the 1951 with Alistair Simm. The former is good, considering the age and the lack of technology for the ghostly effects, but the Simm version is by far the best of them all. It's rather amazing that in such a short amount of time the special effects improved as much as they did. Of all the versions I've seen - including the Albert Finney musical version (shudder) - the 1951 version is still the best and the most enjoyable. And I kinda like the Bill Murray version, too.
Speaking of Saturnalia, I happened upon a book by the same name about this time last year when I was desperate for some new reading material. The book is an installment in the long running Falco series written by Lindsey Davis. It was a fun introduction to this series and just chock full of the history of ancient Rome in the 1st Century AD. Ms. Davis' depiction of the rites and customs of both the time period and the holiday are cracking good. Her attention to detail is astonishing. It was enough to get me to invest the time in the backlist, which takes the character(s) from Rome to Britain and to Germany and beyond. If you like an amusing detective/mystery with some history you can sink your teeth into, I would look this series up.
The Alistair Sim version is available for watching on YouTube:
Merry Christmas to you all!
I'm going to say something terrible...
I liked the Disney animated version with Jim Carrey. I was so ready to hate it - but it was good. And it stuck to the original story far more closely than most adaptations.