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A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
Actors: Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, Terry Kilburn, Barry MacKay
Director: Hugh Harman
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Animation
NR     2005     1hr 9min

A classic that's as integral a part of Christmas as lighted trees and mistletoe. Reginald Owen and Gene Lockhart star in this rewarding holiday treat.


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Movie Details

Actors: Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, Terry Kilburn, Barry MacKay
Director: Hugh Harman
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Animation
Sub-Genres: Family Life, Animation, Comedy, Classics, Christmas, Fantasy, Animation, Animation
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Black and White - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/08/2005
Original Release Date: 12/09/1939
Theatrical Release Date: 12/09/1939
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 9min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

My first memories of holiday movies, and still my favourite.
Veggiechiliqueen | 11/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As a child, I remember my mother watching this on TV every year. When I was slightly older, I became wrapped up in the magic of "A Christmas Carol," and would eagerly await this version on AMC every year. I never understood why Alastair Sims' 1951 version was heralded as the ultimate version; for me, it was too contrived, too melodramatic, and Sims chews up the scenery.

This 1938 version is a warmhearted take on Dickens' classic tale of greed and redemption. Bob Crachit's family is given a greater role than in the original novel, and the strength of the ensemble cast shines. Reginald Owen as Scrooge was a last-minute replacement, since Lionel Barrymore (Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life") was ill. Gene and Kathleen Lockhart shine as the Cratchits (their daughter June made her debut in this), Terry Kilburn is a hyper but cute Tiny Tim, Barry McKay makes a dashing Fred, and Leo G. Carroll makes for a frightening Marley's ghost.

The sets of wintertime London are charming and varied, the costumes lavish, and Franz Waxman's score perfectly accents tender scenes without overwhelming. This is the first time that the 1938 version is available on DVD (in its original glorious B&W and not the awful colorized version), and it includes several brief extras: the film's original theatrical trailer, 2 festive vintage featurettes: Jackie Cooper's Christmas Party and Judy Garland Sings "Silent Night" and the classic Oscar®-nominated cartoon Peace on Earth. Sure to bring holiday cheer to your home, this wonderful adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" shouldn't be missed!
This scrooge is my favorite version!
D. S. HARDEN | L.A.,CA USA | 11/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Although I give praise to the 1951 version of "A Christmas Carol" featuring Alastar Sim, I too, favor the 1938 version starring Reginald Owen, and wonder why it hasn't yet been released on DVD. I first saw this version in the mid '60s, and did my best to catch it every year on television (before video tapes). The cast was great, along with the acting! It will always be Number 1, with Alastar Sim's version Number 2!

An update to my review! Reginald Owen's 1938 version of "A Christmas Carol" is now available on DVD - I just got mine Dec. 8th, 2005 - get yours - now!"
Reginald Owen as Scrooge in the "other" black & white one
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 11/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This 1938 film of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is the "other" version of the classic Yule time story, which is to say that when most people think of the great black & white version they have in mind the 1951 film with Alastair Sim. The 1938 film stars Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge, and if it is not a great version of the tale it is still a solid effort. Owen made over 100 films in his career, playing first Dr. Watson and then Sherlock Holmes in the early 1930s and ending his career as Admiral Boom in "Mary Poppins" and Commodore Dodds in "Bedknobs and Broomsticks." Almost exclusively a character actor and supporting player throughout his career, he got to play Scrooge when a last minute replacement was needed for an ailing Lionel Barrymore, who had regularly performed the story as a radio play each Christmas (similar to Patrick Stewart's recent experience doing "A Christmas Carol" as a one-man show before doing the 1999 made for television version). Barrymore suggested Owen for the role. Of course, Barrymore would eventually play one of the greatest Scrooge-like characters when he was Old Man Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life," but it was Owen who got his biggest share of cinematic immortality with this film, the oldest of the various versions of "A Christmas Carol" that is still worth catching.From a production standpoint MGM's film is better than the 1951 black & white version, but the latter has Sim as the definite Scrooge and that makes all the different. Still, Owen is more than competent in the role and his performance is distinguished from the rest in that he clearly enjoys being a mean one more than any other Scrooge. In the early scenes, when Scrooge is able to give full vent to his feelings and before his ghostly start his spiritual rehabilitation, Owen makes this Scrooge the most detestable of them all. The rest of his performance is solid, but the early stuff is his best, although I do like his line at the end to his stunned nephew that he appreciates how much difference a smile on his Uncle Scrooge's face makes. The production values are pretty good for this 1938 film, which was a fairly big budget effort by MGM. The most familiar faces are those of Leo G. Carroll, who plays a textbook Marley's Ghost (he would be the scientist whose experiment goes astray in "Tarantula" and Mr. Weatherby on television's "Man From U.N.C.L.E"), and Ann Rutherford, who is the Ghost of Christmas Past (she would be Polly Benedict in the Andy Hardy series and Carreen O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind"). The final judgment is not that there is anything markedly wrong with this version of "A Christmas Carol," but just that there are others that are better. Still, fans of the story should make a point of checking this one out at some point during a future Holiday season."
A Christmas Carol with Victorian feeling
Veggiechiliqueen | 11/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Some people prefer the Alistair Sim version of this tale because Sim is a warmer, more sympathetic Scrooge from the start, but if you want a Scrooge who's more like the Ebeneezer we all remember from reading the book, Reginald Owen does a great job. He's a tough, cantankerous old bird, but that makes his transformation at the end all the more touching. Another wonderful feature of this movie is that it was made in the '30s, so there were people at the studio then who remembered Victorian Christmases firsthand, including Owen, who was born in 1887. Regardless of a few details that have been left out for the sake of brevity, this film has a very authentic look and atmosphere, and the script is excellent."