Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, December 28, 2018


Alistair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1951). Director: Brian Desmond Hurst. NOTE: The colorized version, which I watched, is also known as Scrooge.

Ebenezer Scrooge (Alistair Sim) is a tightwad and rather heartless individual whose only response to the holiday season is "humbug!" On Christmas Eve the ghost of his late partner, Marley (Michael Hordern), appears to him, warns him that he's facing a dark future, and tells him that three more ghosts will appear, those of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Days to Come. Scrooge sees visions of his past and the pivotal events that shaped him, such as selling out his employer, Fezziwig (Roddy Hughes)  and losing the love of Alice, (Rona Anderson), the only woman he wanted to marry. He sees the plight of the poor and his own future, as well as that of his employee, Bob Crachit (Mervyn Johns) and his crippled son, Tim (Glyn Dearman). With these increasingly depressing visions, the true spirit of Christmas -- practicing kindness instead of cruelty -- finally takes possession of Ebenezer Scrooge.

"God bless us, everyone." Tiny Tim
A Christmas Carol is a wonderful movie, bolstered by a superb performance from Sim [The Belles of St. Trinian's], great supporting performances, a fine Richard Addinsell score, and superior direction from Hurst.  Every time the film comes near to being a trifle cloying, the next second I'd have a lump in my throat. In other words, you don't need to be Christian or even religious to enjoy and be moved by this picture and Charles Dickens' great story. George Cole plays young Scrooge; Patrick Macnee [The Avengers] is Marley as a young man; Hermione Baddeley is Crachit's wife; Kathleen Harrison is the hysterical Mrs. Dilber; and Ernest Thesiger is notable as Marley's anxious undertaker. Hurst also directed the dull Hungry Hill.

Verdict: Beautiful! ***1/2. 


angelman66 said...

This too is my favorite version. The 1938 rendition is good, too, but this one is the best!
- C

William said...

I will have to look at the 1938 version one of these days. Maybe for next year!