Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the Scroogiest of them all? To George C. Scott’s Scrooge (top), anyway, I say: Bah humbug!
I’ve seen at least two posts that assert that the late George C. Scott’s 1984 television-movie portrayal as Ebenezer Scrooge is The. Best. Portrayal. Of. Scrooge. Ever. (There is Salon.com’s assertion and this Open Salon blogger’s assertion.)
Based upon this assertion, yesterday, on Christmas Day, I watched Scott’s portrayal of Scrooge on DVD.
I was unimpressed.
Sorry (OK, not really sorry), but I want my Scrooge to act like Scrooge. To be grumpy. To be mean. To be bitter.
Oh, George C. Scott underplayed the role, his fans say. Oh, really? To me he just seemed to just read his lines.
Scott’s Scrooge seems to be only mildly irritable, and is that enough to warrant the visits of four ghosts warning him that he’d better change his ways before it’s too late?
And I like the idea of a skinny Scrooge, a skinflint. I like the idea that Scrooge is so miserly that he is even miserly with himself, that he is so cheap that he eats only enough food to keep himself alive and bitter.
The portly Scrooge that the portly Scott portrays: I say bah humbug to that.
And the George C. Scott TV version of “A Christmas Carol” — well, it comes off as what it is: a made-for-TV movie.
I can deal with low-tech special effects, but I especially don’t like the way that the made-for-TV Scott “A Christmas Carol” portrays the Ghost of Christmas Past. I’m fine that a woman played that role in the Scott version, as the original Dickens character isn’t defined as a male or a female and apparently was meant to be androgynous — but give me Robert Zemeckis’ novel version of the Ghost of Christmas Past, hands down.
Speaking of the Zemeckis version, people seem to hate it because it’s modern and it’s high-tech. But Zemeckis nails the Dickens story, with the exception of the addition of the shrunken little Scrooge. That deviation from the Dickens tale wasn’t necessary, but it doesn’t destroy the overall film, either. And Zemeckis, for the most part, uses the technology at his disposal to support the spirit of Dickens’ tale rather than to just dazzle us with technology.
And I still don’t understand why Jim Carrey has taken shit for supposedly having done a poor job as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Zemeckis version. Carrey’s portrayal is the Scroogiest that I’ve ever seen — and Zemeckis’ Scrooge is the skinniest that I’ve ever seen, as Scrooge should be.
Admittedly, I haven’t seen the other versions of “A Christmas Carol” — that is, I haven’t seen them lately or I haven’t seen them at all — but I’ve seen the Zemeckis version and the Scott version lately, and between those two versions it’s no fucking contest: Zemeckis wins, hands down.