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A Christmas Carol (1938)

The 1938 film adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol directed by Edwin Marin.

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Least faithful adaptation but still a good christmas movie.

  • Dec 24, 2001
Reginald Owen plays an excellent scrooge and the Lockheart family does a fine job in the supporting Cratchet family role. Those performances carry a film that is the least faithful adaptation of any of the scrooges out there.

We see a few additions such as Mr. Scrooges hat and sliding on ice. We see a slightly different ending (which is copied decades later by the musical adaption SCROOGE and by the MUPPET CHRISTMAS CARROL.

This is the version I grew up with but every other version seems to have strength that this one doesn't. I haven't seen the new Patrick Stewart one but the Alaster Sim and Geroge C. Scott versions are much better but also much heavier.

This one however is lighter than the others. Owen doesn't seem down deep as nasty as the others, it is more of a playful film. Short of the Muppet version I'd say the best for kids to start with.

Worth a watch.

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Peter Ingemi ()
Ranked #260
   I am a blogger who hosts a Saturday evening Radio show on WCRN 830 AM out of Worcester Mass. I blog about politics, religion, baseball and doctor who at datechguy.wordpress.com I also cover … more
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About this movie


This 1938 MGM version of the Dickens classic is not the most rewarding of the various adaptations (that honor goes to Biran Desmond Hurst's 1951 film, starring Alistair Sim), but it has a strong if narrow performance by Reginald Owen as the miser Ebenezer Scrooge. Directed by Edward L. Marin, the movie is stiffer and less imaginative than it ought to be, but there are some compensations in the supporting cast, including Leo G. Carroll, and the film debut of little June Lockhart.--Tom Keogh

The 1938 film adaptation of Charles Dickens's novella A Christmas Carol starred Reginald Owen as Scrooge and Gene and Kathleen Lockhart as the Cratchits. Terry Kilburn, better known for his portrayal of Colley in Goodbye, Mr. Chips, costarred as Tiny Tim and a young June Lockhart made her film debut at age twelve, appearing as one of the Cratchit daughters.

One of very many adaptations of the work, this popular version was produced by MGM, and was lavish for its day. Some of the eerier elements in the original story were downplayed, in keeping with MGM studio practice of the time. This is decried by some and appreciated by others; see the debate guide.

This version was later eclipsed by the 1951 film.

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Director: Edwin L. Marin
Genre: Classics
Screen Writer: Charles Dickens, Hugo Butler
Runtime: 69 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
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