The best version of the oft-filmed tale, hands down. Sim is the best Scrooge, a human being, and not the cardboard miser that experiences a shallow epiphany, the one so common in other adaptations. Sim is a sad and bitter man, made miserable by the choices made in youth, and even more miserable because he cannot find a way clear. When he is shown a way, the joy he feels is palpable and infectious. What better Christmas tradition than to watch this film?
There is a brief scene near the end of the film, when Scrooge arrives at his nephew Fred's home and hesitates, unsure, before the door, hearing the sounds of merriment within. How can he go in, after so many years of neglect and disdain of his nephew? The maid gives a small smile and nod of encouragment, enough for Scrooge to take heart and enter. It's hard to express into words, but that will always be my favorite scene of any film.
23 December 2013: reworked with better images, just in time for Christmas!