Sunday, December 25, 2011

Alistair Sim & Michael Redgrave in A Christmas Carol (1971)

This animated version of the Dickens classic, executive produced by Chuck Jones, has a lot going for it. Though short (it's only about 25 minutes), it's considered by some to be the most faithful telling of the story on film. The animation is extremely lush and imaginatively conceived, with startling imagery and compelling transitions. Lastly, it features a reprise of Sim's portrayal of the miser, Scrooge, as well as Michael Hordern's performance as Marley's ghost from the 1951 live action version of the story. I highly recommend this dark and sometimes ponderous version of the tale. Listen for Michael Redgrave's narration as well.

It's somewhat curious that this production has yet to make it to DVD. It has a very interesting history. It was so well received that it was given a theatrical release shortly after it aired on television, for which it was produced. This release made it eligible for Oscar nomination, which it won in the category of best animated short film. This so rankled members of the Academy that it caused rules to be changed about productions appearing on television. Though not on DVD, it is available on VHS. The price is dear, however, hovering around $75. It can be seen in full on Google Videos, and on YouTube, where the resolution is better, but it's broken up into three parts. Part one is above, uploaded by TheThiefArchive.

Obscurity factor: 9 (not on DVD, available on VHS and YouTube, largely forgotten)


  1. I LOVE this version! I have a gray-market DVD that I purchased years ago that gets dusted off every Christmas. The visual style is based on Victorian etchings and the eerie, dreamlike feel make it probably the darkest and most macabre version as well. Richard Williams, the director, also was head animator on ROGER RABBIT and the acclaimed-yet-obscure THE PRINCESS AND THE COBBLER. The unavailability of this CHRISTMAS CAROL is a scandal; it deserves wide distribution.

  2. It's a beautiful rendition. I love the imaginative use of transitions in it. The imagery is haunting.

  3. Well its on DVD. Thanks