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Archive for December 25th, 2011

by Allan Fish

(UK 1951 86m) DVD1/2

Aka. A Christmas Carol

Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses?

p  Brian Desmond Hurst  d  Brian Desmond Hurst  w  Noel Langley  story  “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens  ph  C.Pennington Richards  ed  Clive Donner  m  Richard Addinsell  art  Ralph Brinton, Stanley Couzins  cos  Doris Lee, Constance da Pinna

Alastair Sim (Ebenezer Scrooge), Mervyn Johns (Bob Cratchitt), Hermione Baddeley (Mrs Cratchitt), Kathleen Harrison (Mrs Dilber), Michael Hordern (Jacob Marley), Carol Marsh (Fan), George Cole (Young Ebenezer), Roddy Hughes (Mr Fezziwig), Hattie Jacques (Mrs Fezziwig), Michael Dolan (Spirit of Christmas Past), Francis de Wolff (Spirit of Christmas Present), Eliot Makeham (Snedrig), Louise Hampton (Laundress), Jack Warner (Mr Jorkins), Miles Malleson (Old Joe), Brian Worth (Fred), Ernest Thesiger (Undertaker), Patrick MacNee (young Marley), Peter Bull (First businessman and Narrator), Rona Anderson, John Charlesworth, Glyn Dearman, Olga Edwardes,

In his distinguished career, the great Alastair Sim made several superb films – Green for Danger and The Happiest Days of Your Life for Launder and Gilliat to name two selected here – as well as achieving immortality in the inferior St Trinian’s films and in such parts as the eponymous inspector in An Inspector Calls.  If asked to name the role for which he was most cherished, however, there would be only one winner.  He’s hardly the only Ebenezer Scrooge in screen history; a delicious Seymour Hicks and a less happier Reginald Owen played him in the thirties, then there was the awful musical with Albert Finney and the muppet variation with Michael Caine.  Small screen viewers might recall a celebrated TV version with Michael Hordern (who played Marley to Alastair Sim), a memorable performance from George C.Scott and a less satisfactory one from a too funereal Patrick Stewart – Dickens’ character was not funereal, simply miserable and miserly.  Yet still, over half a century on, Sim towers over all and sundry. (more…)

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We began avant-garde month by defying language – with silent films whose currency was visual, whose ideograms were images. Today we openly confront, pull apart, and reassemble language, on a kind of a cracked-looking-glass Sesame Street, numbers and words thrown in the air, land where they may, brought to you by the letter X – as in crossed-out, mysterious value, or X marks the spot. Today each avant-garde selection touches on a different base: documentary, animation, and narrative, all while remaining resolutely experimental. Two short entries are followed by a longer one (covering A Walk Through H, a fantastic film that seems to aptly round out all our themes). Bring your map, but don’t expect it to help any.

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