December 21st, 2009

A Christmas Carol (1951)

I had plans yesterday to meet my friend glitzfrau , but- after looking out the window at regular intervals and comparing notes-  we agreed to postpone. There are only about seven miles between us, but they are currently chock-a-block with snow. 

In the afternoon Ailz and I watched the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol, with Alastair Sim as Scrooge. The secret of Sim's success in the role is that we never hate him. He's not a bad man, merely a soured man- and his conversion- under the deluge of thoughts and feelings he's been keeping dammed back- is perfectly believable. I was surprised at how much of Dickens political anger this version retains- his very specific rage against the cruel, Utiltarian philosophy of the moneymen of his day.  A Christmas Carol isn't rootless fantasy; it's about a particular time, a particular society- or- in the case of this version- two times and two societies that have a lot to say to one another- the churned-up, newly industrial Britain of the 1840s and the churned-up, quasi-socialist Britain of the brief golden age after World War II.