Sunday, January 10, 2016

Scrooge (1951)

Scrooge (aka A Christmas Carol): adapted by Noel Langley from the novella by Charles Dickens; directed by Brian Desmond Hurst; starring Alastair Sim (Ebenezer Scrooge), Mervyn Johns (Bob Cratchit), Michael Hordern (Jacob Marley), Francis De Wolff (Spirit of Christmas Present), and Michael Dolan (Spirit of Christmas Past) (1951): The 1951 version of Charles Dickens' venerable holiday novella remains the gold standard, though I wish CBC would stop showing the colourized version on Christmas Eve. 

It has a real sense of horror about it, never moreso than in the scene in which the Spirit of Christmas Past shows Ebenezer Scrooge that all around people swarm the ghosts of those damned to impotently try to help people because in life they failed to help people. This is Hell. It's also great because Alastair Sim is great. He's convincingly angry and shriveled at the beginning, and he's convincingly nutty at the end after his reformation. His giddiness suggests a sort of ecstasy that initially terrifies his housekeeper, in one of the funniest scenes in any Scrooge movie. Highly recommended.

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