(In French, On Cable TV, December 2018) I’ve been sampling and watching A Christmas Carol adaptations all December long, and I think that this 1999 BBC production is my favourite straightforward version of the Dickens story. (My favourite of them all is 1988’s Scrooged, but I’m counting it as a comic variant, not the foundational material.) It certainly helps to have Patrick Stewart as Scrooge—the production is meaningless if you don’t have a strong actor in the lead role, and Stewart can play cranky or beatific better than anyone else, with the gravitas required to pull it off. It also helps that 1999-era special effects were iffy but just good enough to pull the ghostly segments of the story, and that there had been enough productions prior to this one to identify the best elements to highlight. Production values are high (especially for a late-1990s TV movie) and the film does not overstay its welcome. In the end, 1999’s A Christmas Carol is a familiar story well told without the excesses of later version (that 2009 CGI one, ugh) or the shortcomings of the many earlier takes.