A Christmas Carol (1843)
This is a ghost story. It is meant to scare the Dickens out of you. In modern terms, Ebenezer Scrooge has a negative NDE (near death experience). It woke him up permanently from his self-imposed nightmare. He became enlightened.
Alastair Sim’s version is the one most commonly held to be the ‘authentic’ vision of the Charles Dickens book. Yes, the acting is melodramatic, and sometimes bordering on manic, but the story always needs to have a clear reason why Scrooge would change his ways, seemingly overnight. The Ghosts of Past, Present, and Things-to-Come have to show him the error of his ways. They do this, in spades, by bringing Love into his understanding and by always reminding him of the need for reformation and redemption, in order to continue his journey here on Earth.
The colourized version was on the CBC last night. It felt more like watching Gone With The Wind. In other words, 1939 looking back on the 1850’s, rather than 1951 looking back on the 1840’s. And, as a bonus, there were many young actors in the film who would later be television and movie stars.
One of the minor glitches of this film shows up on the Christmas morning mirror scene. There seems to be an extra image behind Scrooge’s back. Someone else has noticed it, too, and isolated the ‘ghostly’ apparition in the following video clip.
Check the left corner of the mirror…
Who knows, maybe Charles Dickens decided to show up?