A Christmas Carol (1951)

christmas carol poster 1951 movie scrooge
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Alastair Sim is a good Scrooge

Too much Christmas Past

Movie Info

Movie Name:  A Christmas Carol (Scrooge)

Studio:  George Minter Productions

Genre(s):  Drama/Family/Seasonal

Release Date(s):  October 31, 1951 (Premiere)/November 30, 1951 (UK)/December 2, 1951 (US)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

christmas carol 1951 scrooge alastair sim ghost of christmas present francis de wolff

Well if Cratchet hadn’t had 40 kids, maybe he’d be a bit more financially stable…just saying

Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) is getting a second chance.  Miserable, cranky, and angry at the world, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former partner Jacob Marley with a warning:  change his life or walk the afterlife in chains forever.  Now Scrooge is on a journey into his past with the Ghost of Christmas Past, the lives of those around him with the Ghost of Christmas Present, and a peek at the possible future with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.  Will it be enough to get Scrooge to change his ways?

Directed by Brian Desmond Hurst, A Christmas Carol is a family holiday movie.  The film was originally released as Scrooge in the United Kingdom and often goes by that title.  The film adapts the classic 1843 Charles Dickens novel and is often cited as one of the best film productions of the story.  The film frequently airs during the holiday in steady rotation.

christmas carol 1951 scrooge ignorance want children

Regardless what version you watch Ignorance and Want are terrifying

Families always seem to adopt a version of A Christmas Carol, and many have adopted this version of Scrooge as the gold standard for the story.  Our family did not really watch this version of Scrooge and frequently watched the musical Scrooge or later the 1984 George C. Scott adaptation.  As a result, this version of A Christmas Carol sits oddly with me, though it is a solid adaptation of the classic story.

This version of the film has possibly the jerkiest “pre-Ghost” version of Scrooge.  Sim really revels in the evil Scrooge, and it shines in every scene before Marley’s shows up.  This is always tricky to have a character so evil go to good by the end of the film so the film smartly focuses on how Scrooge arrived at his current disposition by spending more time with the Ghost of Christmas Past (and adding scenes that were not from Charles Dickens’ story).  You see the corruption building in Scrooge that warps his present day version.

christmas carol scrooge ghost of christmas yet to come

Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, I feel like we should just hang out…get a beer or something so I can get to know you better

There is so much Ghost of Christmas Past that the film seems a bit uneven at times especially for viewers that know the story well.  The Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come feel like they fly by, but really include most of what is commonly seen in other versions of the film.

The film does have a nice look to it.  Since it is in black & white (though lots of colorized versions exist), the movie has a coldness to it that works when Scrooge is evil, but of course when he switches tempo in the end, it is hard to warm up the film again despite Scrooge’s change in persona.

If you have to see one Christmas Carol, this version is not a bad choice though I still prefer other versions (that are honestly more true to the story).  However, this Scrooge is a classic and worth adding to your regular holiday viewing.  The movie is short, succinct, and loaded with everything you would expect from A Christmas Carol…and that is why the version endures.  If you do not like it, Bah Humbug!

Related Links:

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol (1938)

Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962)

Scrooge (1970)

An American Christmas Carol (1979)

Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)

A Christmas Carol (1984)

Scrooged (1988)

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994)

A Christmas Carol (1999)

Christmas Carol—The Movie (2001)

A Christmas Carol:  The Musical (2004)

Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas (2006)

Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009)

Batman:  Noel

Zombies Christmas Carol

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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