Movie Name: A Christmas Carol (Scrooge)
Studio: United Artists
Release Date(s): October 31, 1951
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
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?
Released as A Christmas Carol in the U. S., the film was released as Scrooge in the United Kingdom and has since often just fallen under that title (probably to avoid being confused with all the other versions of A Christmas Carol). The movie is often considered the landmark version of the film that other versions are compared to, and it is shown regularly around the holidays.
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).
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 or the 1984 George C. Scott version (which is more true to the story) are probably what you should see if you want an authentic Christmas Carol feel. The movie is relatively short, and as mentioned, on TV all the time. Check out A Christmas Carol and enjoy the holidays.
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