A Christmas Carol: Book or Movie?

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed many great literary film adaptations; but I’m biased toward books.  No matter how wonderful the film, I’m likely to say “The book was better”.  Saying this is usually less a result of my critical skills and more a result of the fact that I’m simply a book person.

The monthly meme question for The Classics Club for December touches on this topic:

What is your favorite memory of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol? Have you ever read it? If not, will you? Why should others read it rather than relying on the film adaptions?

A Christmas Carol falls into the category of stories I heard and saw first through film as a kid.  I didn’t read Charles Dickens’ actual words until I was an adult.  In the case of this story, I think the many film versions, from George C. Scott to The Muppets to Jim Carey, stand as a testament to the brilliance of Dickens’ words and ideas.  Dickens’ incorporation of ghosts as a catalyst for Ebenezer Scrooge’s redemption has been a feast for the imaginations of filmmakers everywhere.  I love seeing the incarnation of filmmakers’ imaginations on the screen (big or small),  but in reading the story, I get to keep company with the imagination I enjoy the most: my own.



10 responses to “A Christmas Carol: Book or Movie?

  1. Thanks for stopping by, Mabel. I have enjoyed your posts on Hans Christian Andersen’s stories. I’m planning on reading some of his work this month.

  2. Hi Dale,
    I, too, love your last sentence – “in reading, I get to keep company with the imagination I enjoy most: my own.” Very well said.

  3. Thanks, Jay! I think the whole book vs. movie topic has been discussed a lot. Ultimately, I think they tend to be two separate experiences, sometimes equally enjoyable, sometimes not.

  4. I’ll be sounding like Jacob Marley’s echo, because I love your last sentence too. As much as I love the George C. Scott adaptation, nothing beats the story being told through my own imagination.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Whitney! I guess that’s what ends up disappointing me about movie adaptations – it’s not like my imagination (although Peter Jackson came close with LOTR).

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