Blogger Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla

Book to Many Films: A Christmas Carol

The inside cover of the first edition, 1843.

Charles Dickens published his novella A Christmas Carol on December 17, 1843. Such was the power of this critically-acclaimed story it was first “adapted” (read: pirated) a mere month later, in January of 1844. Since the first unauthorized adaptation in 1844, Ebenezer, Tiny Tim, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future have been adapted countless times. There are so many adaptation there is a separate Wikipedia page about them. Counting just movies, tv shows, and the theater, there have been over 100 versions of Dickens’ tale. To say that A Christmas Carol is a cultural touchstone is putting it mildly. With so many adaptations to chose from, everyone has a favorite. My mother loves the Alastair Sim version, released in 1951. The kids in our library seem to enjoy the Mickey version, released in 1983.

c/o Walt Disney Pictures;  Jim Henson Productions 1992
c/o Walt Disney Pictures;
Jim Henson Productions 1992

My favorite? Why, The Muppet Christmas Carol, of course! Directed by Jim Henson’s son, Brian, this film premiered to mediocre reviews in 1992. Some critics found the tone confusing. There are songs and Muppets galore, but some of those songs are downright depressing (“When Love is Gone” is a three-hanky number) and I know I personally found the Ghost of Christmas Future terrifying when I was a child. Still, I find the Muppets a great way to introduce children to the tale of Scrooge, a view shared by the late, great Roger Ebert.

And the Scrooge in this movie is fantastic! Michael Caine is grouchy, rude, and everything a miser ought to be. He also interacts credibly with his Muppet costars. The Muppets are integrated seamlessly into the story, and the soundtrack is excellent. Although parts of it are sad and parts of it are scary, it remains my favorite version of the tale today. To me, this is a must-watch each Christmas. Marley and Marley is a macabre hoot.

Who is your favorite Scrooge? For that matter, what’s your favorite holiday movie?


  1. Adrienne Gillespie

    My favorite film Scrooge is the 1951 version with Alastair Sim, the b & w version, not the colorized version. Heart-breaking and hopeful. I’ve seen it almost every year I can remember and it still brings me to tears.

  2. Jacki Fulwood

    Muppet Christmas Carol is the best of all! The soundtrack is amazing and the adaptation is excellent. Michael Caine is amazing as Scrooge. I’ve seen this approximately eleventy-bazillion times and I still cry when he watches his past self and Belle break up. He really has the look of a man who lost everything that should have mattered and is having it shoved back in his face. We’ll be watching it today!

  3. Holly Koster

    I always loved the George C. Scott version.

    My favorite Christmas movie is probably Christmas in Connecticut.

  4. Tracy

    The narration on the Muppet version is just awesome. “Gee, this is kind of scary. Should we be worried about the kids in the audience?” “Nah, this is culture.” I do think the humor of Gonzo and Rizzo help lighten the scarier parts of the film.

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