Art Attack believes that when film fans review the pantheon of A Christmas Carol movies, it's not enough to just judge them by their favorite Scrooges -- whether it's George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart or Mr. Magoo.
The role of Bob Cratchit is also crucial, and a slew of big names have taken their shot at it, with mixed results.
It can be a tough role to pull off without going overboard on either the pusillanimous workplace behavior or the Hallmark saccharine of the scenes around the family hearth.
Here are ten Cratchits, ranked from worst to first.
A talented actor who will perhaps forever be best known for his role inTitanic
, Warner's performance in the George C. Scott TV movie isn't terrible, but it's badly hampered by the set designer and director. The Cratchit hovel looks positively homey, all light and airy and clean, and you'd never think their Christmas goose was especially small until Warner mourns its supposed tiny size.
9. Rhys Ifans The scene-stealer from Notting Hill may very well have been a good Cratchit, but we haven't seen this so we can't judge. The animation looks cheap, but the cast includes Simon Callow, Kate Winslet and, ummm, Nicolas Cage.
Serviceable enough in this 1938 version, just a little too hammy for our taste. Trivia note: Lockhart had a daughter named June, who went on to play the mom in the TV seriesLost in Space
Jack Cassidy was a master villain in a couple ofColumbo
s and he had a great Broadway voice, but he isn't given much to do inMister Magoo's Christmas Carol
. At least he played a part in introducing the world to razzleberry dressing.
Sure, his name was Eliot Loudermilk and not Bob Cratchit, but we all know who he was supposed to be. And no Cratchit ever wielded a shotgun while singing "You Better Watch Out" as well as Goldthwait.
We thought Patrick Stewart chewed a little too much scenery in this 1999 version, and the special effects could have been dialed back, but we like what Richard E. Grant did with Cratchit. But then we've always been big fans ofWithnail and I
is one of the more criminally underrated sitcoms of all time; theirA Christmas Carol
episode was not necessarily among their top 10, but any chance to give the show a plug is worth it.
The Jim Carrey/Bon Zemeckis version ofA Christmas Carol
is a schizophrenic mess: It retains a surprising amount of Dickens's archaic but wonderful language and grammar, but throws in pointless candy like a miniaturized Scrooge in a chase scene. The always reliable Gary Oldman turns in a great Cratchit, though.
Come on, you gotta love Kermit.
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You've probably never heard of Mervyn Johns, although if you're a fan of the Ealing Studios films you've seen his work. His Cratchit in the Alastair Sim 1951Scrooge
nails the role perfectly, delivering even the most unctuous of pious lines with a believability and vulnerability.