10 Bob Cratchits, Ranked from Worst to First
God bless us, everyone.
Every fan of A Christmas Carol has their favorite Scrooges -- whether it's George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart or Mr. Magoo.
But 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.
10. David Warner A talented actor who will perhaps forever be best known for his role in Titanic , 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 homely, 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.
8. Gene Lockhart 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 series Lost in Space .
7. Jack Cassidy Jack Cassidy was a master villain in a couple of Columbo s and he had a great Broadway voice, but he isn't given much to do in Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol . At least he played a part in introducing the world to razzleberry dressing.
6. Bobcat Goldthwait 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.
5. Richard E. Grant 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 of Withnail and I .
4. Tony Randall The Odd Couple is one of the more criminally underrated sitcoms of all time; their Christmas Carol episode was not necessarily among their top 10, but any chance to give the show a plug is worth it.
3. Gary Oldman The Jim Carrey/Bon Zemeckis version of A 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.
2. Kermit Come on, you gotta love Kermit.
1. Mervyn Johns 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 1951 Scrooge nails the role perfectly, delivering even the most unctuous of pious lines with a believability and vulnerability.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.