According to some sources, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, which was published on December 19, 1843, is possibly the most often filmed work of literature, with many different versions.
A Christmas Carol, which is one of Dickens' shorter works, and which was somewhat hastily written, is also one of the most familiar stories, being one of those literary works which have passed into the common consciousness of English-speaking people everywhere. And thanks to all these many remakes
including everything from The Muppets Christmas Carol to Magoo's Christmas Carol to Mickey's Christmas Carol and even a Flintstones version, it is familiar to all ages and generations, and all levels of taste.
As time has gone by, political correctness has encouraged remakes with black 'Scrooges', female Scrooges, and black female Scrooges.
There has been an Italian version, but we don't yet have a Hispanic or Middle Eastern Scrooge to my knowledge. However, I don't doubt somebody is working on it.
The fact that this story has been remade so many times with so many variations shows that it is an enduring story that touches many people, and a work of art that is deeply embedded in our cultural memory.
In a way, it might be said that 'It's a Wonderful Life' is a variation of the Scrooge theme, though in the former movie, the 'Scrooge' character, Mr. Potter, finds no redemption.
Dickens was a quintessentially English writer, and his works are very much of the time and place in which Dickens wrote. The adaptations which are truest to the original are the best ones, in my book.
Every year at this time, it's been a ritual in our household to either re-read the story aloud, or at least to watch a classic movie version of the story. The 1970 version, 'Scrooge', with Albert Finney in the title role, is my personal favorite, although I enjoy some of the earlier versions as well, such as those with Alastair Sim or Reginald Owen. I can't say that I care much for the more recent adaptations, but I admit to a general bias against more recent movies in general.
A Christmas Carol is one of those stories that we tend to take for granted, and it's always refreshing to go back and read the original story, and often to find that it's like reading it for the first time. It's one of those stories, for me at least, that can be read and re-read with enjoyment each time, much like The Wind in the Willows, another English classic.
May "A Christmas Carol" long be read and remembered, and I hope that despite the often silly attempts to modernize it, to make it more 'hip', modern, or ''inclusive'', it will still be preserved in its original form and its original setting, true to Dickens' original.
The message of the story is one that is needed in every generation. And it's very much a part of our celebration of Christmas every year.