DAVID BIANCULLI

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A CHRISTMAS CAROL
December 8, 2020  | By David Bianculli

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

 
The first screen adaptation of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic story, A Christmas Carol, was a silent British film short in 1901, titled Scrooge, or, Marley’s Ghost. American filmmakers first got to it in 1908, with a brief silent Chicago-based version called A Christmas Carol, and the Edison Studios produced its own silent short version in 1910. Another silent British version, this one called Scrooge, was released in England in 1913. The first sound version was produced in England in 1935, and also was called Scrooge. America countered three years later with 1938’s A Christmas Carol, the first internationally successful version of the Dickens tale, starring Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge. That’s the version TCM is showing tonight, in prime time. Gene Lockhart co-starred as Bob Cratchit, and his real-life daughter June can be seen as Cratchit’s daughter Belinda. Leo G. Carroll also co-stars, as Marley’s Ghost (pictured, with Owen’s Ebenezer). Eventually, both June Lockhart and Leo G. Carroll ended up appearing in two classic TV shows: Carroll in Topper and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Lockhart in Lassie and Lost in Space. And if you think I’ve gone on too long about the cinematic history and trivia surrounding A Christmas Carol, all I can say is… humbug.
 
 
 
 
 
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