Ebenezer Scrooge malcontentedly shuffles through life as a cruel miserly businessman until one fateful Christmas Eve when he is visited by three spirits, sent show him how his unhappy childhood and maladaptive adult behavior over has let him a selfish, lonely, bitter old man. Released in the USA as "A Christmas Carol".
My first time watching this adaptation of Charles Dickens' work - thoroughly enjoyed it! I've previously only watched the Disney animated film and the 2019 television miniseries with Guy Pearce. I also like both of those, they each have things that are inferior and superior to this 1951 film. Alastair Sim is the best Ebenezer Scrooge of the three, I loved watching him from start-to-finish. Sim's facial expressions are terrific throughout, while his happiness later on is infectious. A top performance! None of the others massively standout, unlike the aforementioned productions, but George Cole (young Scrooge) is pleasant, as are those who play the ghosts. Other positives include the score, the tension building and the arc of the lead character - given the fact that they make him horrid at the beginning. The special effects haven't aged well, but that's to be very much expected almost seventy years on - in fairness, they look pretty good for '51. Elsewhere, I found that some of the camera shots are held for too long, while I also wanted more reactions of Sim when he was seeing the past/present/future - sometimes they chose to stick on the 'event', rather than showing Sim. Those aren't major criticisms at all, just small ones. All in all, 'Scrooge' is a very good film - one well worth a view!
I read a review by a critic which stated this is the best adaptation of the oh so familiar story of Charles Dickens’ Scrooge. Not because of advanced production value or cutting edge special effects. In fact, this movie is definitely low tech, being from 1952 as it is. But now I agree with that assessment. There are three elements that in my mind elevate this production to the top of the pile. The first is the setting and the mood of the film. This felt like Dickensian London to me, the rough streets and dense atmosphere through the fog and just the look of the people. The story was also handled with a deft touch. It has been a long time since I have read the novella by Dickens, but this story felt closer to the original. I like the details they added sometimes when Scrooge was with the Christmas ghosts. For one example, when it showed the people selling Scrooge’s belongings, they spoke at some little length, about their lives and about Scrooge. And then later that scene illustrates how much Scrooge has altered, for he interacts with the woman he saw selling his curtains and gives her a raise. Finally there is Alastair Sims as Scrooge. He gives a multi-layered performance I appreciated more and more as the story went on. He convinced me during his second ghost that he might want to change but probably wouldn’t. He wasn’t there yet and needed the third ghost to get him over the top. His final conversion felt convincing to me, the little and big laughs of his were evidence of a man who knew he had been spared a final tragic chapter in his and others’ lives.