For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014

The best cable channel in the known universe (as far as I'm concerned, anyway) is Turner Classic Movies, which devotes its time 24/7 to golden oldies. And the network has expanded over the years to selling its own brand-name DVD releases and occasionally sponsoring theatrical screenings of ancient classics.

For the holidays, TCM has paired with another big-screen specialty label, Fathom Events, to bring a double feature to Cinemark theaters on Sunday and Wednesday.

The films are the 1938 version of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and the 1945 post-war comedy "Christmas in Connecticut."

"A Christmas Carol" is, of course, the oft-filmed story of Ebenezer Scrooge's conversion from miserly curmudgeon to generous spendthrift after being visited by ghosts of Christmases past, present and future, revealing his true nature and reputation and ultimate doom … if he doesn't change his ways.


Leo G. Carroll, Reginald Owen, 'A Christmas Carol'

This one gets the lavish MGM treatment, which that studio could provide like no other in the 1930s and '40s. Reginald Owen stars as Scrooge and he's great, with Gene Lockhart as Bob Cratchit and Leo G. Carroll as Marley's Ghost.


Barbara Stanwyck, S.Z. 'Cuddles' Sakall, 'Christmas in Connecticut'

"Christmas in Connecticut" is a screwball comedy, a bit lower-key and less frantic than most, with Barbara Stanwyck as a sophisticated New York writer who concocts a fictional column for a magazine in which she portrays herself as a conventional wife, mother and excellent cook.

Unaware of his popular writer's true lifestyle, her publisher (Sydney Greenstreet) arranges for Stanwyck to host a returning war hero (DennisMorgan) for dinner as a publicity stunt. Let the comic antics begin.

Bolstered by a seasoned supporting cast (including the hilarious S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall and Una O'Connor), the result has less substance than a soufflé but it remains nonetheless a delightful holiday romp. (If the made-for-TV remake with Dyan Cannon and Kris Kristofferson shows up on your friendly neighborhood cable channel, switch to anything else.)

"TCM Double Feature: ‘A Christmas Carol' and ‘Christmas in Connecticut' " will be shown in various Cinemark Theaters on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 2 and 7 p.m., and on Wednesday, Dec. 10, at 2 and 7 p.m.,