I have written before about Dickens’ marvelous story. It is time to write about Sim’s marvelous performance.
Perhaps a cable TV channel will show Sim’s version of A Christmas Carol. If not, watch it here. Watch it — not just for old time’s sake, but because everyone needs to remind himself that good things happen, but they must start from within.
That is also the message of that other Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.
In both movies, the bad guy is a money-lender. In both movies, the crucial agents of transforming self-awareness are supernatural. This is also true in the second-tier Christmas film, The Bishop’s Wife. If the range of angels really is from Henry Travers’ Clarence to Cary Grant’s Dudley, then there is a bell-shaped curve in heaven, too. (As an aside, Carol Kane’s ghost of Christmas present set the standard in Scrooged. Her winged angel is surely at the far end of the bell-shaped curve for angels.)
What makes Sim’s portrayal so memorable is his ability to move before our eyes from seemingly inveterate spiritual darkness through regret to sympathy to fear to redemption. He becomes a changed man. Sim’s portrayal of this transformation is believable. We do not perceive that we are watching a masterful performance. We are watching a man go from darkness to light.
Scrooge is a man who is driven by economic concerns. These concerns have consumed him. Yet there is deliverance. His environment does not change overnight. His self-awareness does.
What is striking in the story but especially on the screen is the degree to which the environment does not change. This setting is the heart of the story. His economic environment on the day before Christmas is just like the day after Christmas. But Scrooge is not the same. Personal redemption takes place within the context of economic continuity. The economy does not change. Scrooge changes.
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