Movie Notes, Part One

I’m so far behind in reviewing the movies we have seen that I’ll never catch up. So, let me make a few notes here in lieu of more extensive evaluations.

Spurred on by a great “Black Friday” deal from, I bought a copy of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians. (The same impulse landed me a copy of Spaceballs for $2, an impulse I’m almost afraid to confess!) I feel a particular attachment to this movie due to its having been released at a time when I would have been in its target audience. My parents gave me an LP of the music and story line which I can remember playing over and over again. It was a delight, therefore, to introduce this to my son and share it with my wife. I had not realized until I watched the special features how innovative this was and how it represented a technological step forward and trade off from past animated classics. A wonderful movie, though.

Another vestige from our 60s childhood is one my wife picked up from Wal-mart in their discount bin: Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. Back in the days before DVR and before DVD and before VHS, to watch a piece of video entertainment, one had to find when it would be on TV and make a concerted effort to be there in front of the television the moment it started. At Christmas, the networks had a stable of ‘specials’ they would air year after year. This was one of those specials, featuring a cartoon character named Mr. Magoo who was nearly blind. I remember watching this as a child, and I must have loved it as a child. And sense I loved it as a child and my wife loved it as a child, we had to foist it upon our children, at least those we could corral long enough to watch it. I confess, watching it now as an adult, I see though it is generally faithful to Dickens original, it hardly has the charm of A Charlie Brown Christmas or even Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Far, far better was a 1951 classic A Christmas Carol. It is a feature film length adaptation starring Alistair Sim, an endearing British actor some of us were introduced to in a film called Green for Danger (a classic whodunit, very much worth watching).

You know the story. But know also that the value of this film is in Sim’s portrayal of the transformed Scrooge. I think this is a picture of the joy and freedom that should attend the Christian who comes to understand the Gospel. Would that it were so.