Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is widely known as a great piece of literature. Of course, no book can be considered great until it has been adapted into a movie... or in the case of A Christmas Carol, approximately 240 movies. The earliest version was made in 1908, and if you look carefully, you can probably find a new version every year.
Since going to see the musical as a kid, A Christmas Carol has been one of my favorite holiday stories, although I never felt that I could truly identify with any of the main characters because I am female and I live in the twentieth century. Luckily, several network executives must have been thinking the same thing, and within the past few years, I've been presented with not one, but four TV movies starring a female Scrooge.
The first one I came across was Ebbie, starring Susan Lucci as a cold-hearted department store executive. My favorite parts of this movie were the "past" sequences, where Susan Lucci didn't really look any younger, and Katherine Helmond (of Who's the Boss fame) played the Marley character. Next there was Ms. Scrooge, starring Cicely Tyson, pursing her lips with a vengeance. This 1997 movie was awful and I've blocked out everything beyond the most basic plot points. Most recently I watched VH1's A Diva's Christmas, starring Vanessa Williams as a cold-hearted pop star. The best part of this movie was that the 'future' parts were told through a Behind the Music. This year, Tori Spelling tries her hand at the Scrooge character in the Hallmark Channel's A Carol Christmas.
After hours spent watching these adaptations, I've discovered that at its core, A Christmas Carol is a fantastic story with an important message. I appreciate that television executives want to get this message across during the holiday season, but I suggest that it is best done with either Bill Murray or the Muppets. This holiday season, steer clear of the Lifetime network, and try picking up a book. (Actually, that's a good idea year round.)