Often called the definitive Dickens adaptation, this atmospheric black-and-white film stars Alastair Sim as the soulless skinflint headed for rock bottom. Audiences get a peek at his harsh back story -- his mother died in childbirth, his father blamed and ostracized him, and he lost his only sister. The British-made film doesn't dance around the harshness of the original text, lingering on "Ignorance" and "Want," represented by two scraggly hollow-eyed kids folded into the robes of the ghost of Christmas present. (Some versions omit that scene). Sim's Scrooge, who goes from bitter and unapologetic to terrified and repentant, laments during his otherworldly journey that he's "too old to change." It makes his transformation in the end all the more poignant.
American Movie Classics