If nothing else, this film is a winner simply because of the casual, frequent use of this word.
“Happy New Ye– ”
A Christmas Carol is the film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim), a heartless, grumpy old man who hates Christmas and everyone who celebrates it. Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his long-dead legal partner, Jacob Marley (Michael Horden), who warns him that Scrooge’s negative actions in life are setting him up for a Hell so bad, Dante’s circles look like a vacation in Aruba. His only chance for salvation is to accompany three spirits on a soul-searching adventure through the Christmases of his past, present, and future.
There have been more remakes of A Christmas Carol than I can count (including one with Disney’s Scrooge McDuck) but the 1951 version, black and white with scratchy audio, is by far the best. The dialogue is quick and fierce (listen closely) and the ‘special effects’ are groundbreaking. Just kidding. They’re pretty laughable. But that’s half the fun of the film.
Alastair Sim shines as Scrooge. He’s one of those actors you will forever remember by his character’s name rather than his own (“You know – the guy who played Scrooge!”). His grouchiness is matched only by his delightful giddiness, and he is never afraid to do what must be done to make the scene a success, including wailing with freight and jumping into bed like a five-year-old boy.
One actor who does take the scene a little too far, however, is Michael Horden. If I had to spend eternity dragging a chain behind me I’m sure I, too, would be a little distressed, but Jacob Marley is DISTRESSED. He howls, moans, and places his hand on his forehead in an oh-woe-is-me gesture – more than once. He isn’t supposed to be, but Marley becomes the comedic relief in the first quarter of the film.
While A Christmas Carol may seem to drag in parts, with some of the dialogue being difficult to understand, it is undoubtedly a ‘classic’ for a reason. I have seen it countless times and it always manages to make me smile. A Christmas Carol is an 8/10 masterpiece that everyone should see at least once, if only to know what people are referring to when they make Tiny Tim jokes, or what they mean when they call you a “Scrooge”.
This review can also be found at http://thecinemaid.net/2013/12/25/a-christmas-carol-1951/