(Welcome to Marathon Man: the monthly column where I examine a series of films and compare, contrast and analyze them until either your brain or mine explodes.)
It's easily one of the most beloved and well known stories in western literature, a tale that's so firmly embedded itself in our cultural language that just about every child grows up knowing it. Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' has been in print for over 150 years and yet it feels timeless, its central message resonant with all people at all times and in all places: we are capable of goodness, we are capable of changing and we are all capable of being better human beings. This may be a story restricted to holiday telling due to its title, but this is a message that should be preached year round.
However, 'tis the season and for many families, no holiday gathering is complete without watching one of the many film versions of 'A Christmas Carol.' Dickens' original story is a brief 100 pages, unusually short and stripped down for the traditionally long-winded author, which means that there is an insane amount of room for unique takes on the same material from countless different creative voices, bringing their own perspective and vision to the story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and his encounters with the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. And with such a small book to adapt, most versions rarely run more than 90 minutes.
Thank god for small favors. In the spirit of the season, I decided it was time to take a tour of the cinematic adaptations of this yuletide classic. It was time to watch eight versions of 'A Christmas Carol.'