This 1938 version is a favorite of mine. It has some additions to the story. There is more interaction between Fred and the Cratchit family. Bob Cratchit gets fired on Christmas Eve, so he goes out and spends all of his money so the family can have a merry Christmas.
The past skips over Belle, but the school scenes are powerful. The Ghosts are all terrific, and the Ghost of Christmas Present wanders about spreading Christmas cheer. I also have to say that when Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past fly, it looks very real. I know that is a random observation, but it was 1938. That and zooming in on the school are very cool.
I have a great affection for movies from the 1930′s. Filmmaking was still fairly new, so the special effects weren’t great. Some were theatrical (like blackouts on scenes). But there is enough experimentation with the medium that makes this a movie, not a filmed theater piece.
I read that Reginald Owen was a last minute replacement for Lionel Barrymore. I think he is terrific, though I would have loved to see Lionel Barrymore in the role. Will have to settle for listening to it instead.
This version is easily in my top five. Watch it–what do you think?