Scrooge (1951 film)
UK quad poster
|Directed by||Brian Desmond Hurst|
|Produced by||Brian Desmond Hurst|
|Written by||Noel Langley|
|Music by||Richard Addinsell|
|Editing by||Clive Donner|
|Distributed by||Renown Pictures|
|Release dates||31 October 1951|
|Running time||86 minutes|
Scrooge is a 1951 film adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. It starred Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge and was directed by Brian Desmond Hurst, with a screenplay by Noel Langley. It was released as A Christmas Carol in the United States.
The film also features Kathleen Harrison in an acclaimed turn as Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge's charwoman. George Cole stars as the younger version of Scrooge, Hermione Baddeley as Mrs. Cratchit, Mervyn Johns as Bob Cratchit, Clifford Mollison as Samuel Wilkins, a debtor, Jack Warner as Mr. Jorkin, a role created for the film, Ernest Thesiger as Marley's undertaker and Patrick Macnee as young Jacob Marley. Michael Hordern plays Marley's ghost, as well as old Marley. Peter Bull serves as narrator, by reading portions of Dickens' words at the beginning and end of the film; he also appears on-screen as one of the businessmen cynically discussing Scrooge's funeral.
Comparison with the source material
||This section possibly contains original research. (June 2012)|
In the film, Mrs Dilber is the name of the charwoman, whereas in the book the woman was unnamed and the laundress was named Mrs Dilber. The charwoman's role is greatly expanded in the film, to the point that she receives second billing in the list of characters.
The film also expands on the story by detailing Scrooge's rise as a prominent businessman who was corrupted by a greedy new mentor, Mr. Jorkin (played by Jack Warner) who had lured him away from the benevolent Mr. Fezziwig. When Jorkin, who does not appear at all in Dickens's original story, is discovered to be an embezzler, the opportunistic Scrooge and Marley offer to compensate the company's losses on the condition that they receive control of the company for which they work - and so, Scrooge and Marley is born.
During the Ghost of Christmas Present sequence, Scrooge's former fiancee, Alice, works with the homeless and sick (the character is named "Belle" in the book, and her employment is not described).
The film also posits that Ebenezer's sister died while giving birth to his nephew, Fred, thus engendering Scrooge's estrangement from him. We are also told that Ebenezer's mother died while giving birth to him, causing his father to resent him just as Ebenezer resents his nephew. In the book, Fan is much younger than Ebenezer, and the cause of her death is not mentioned.
The film also has an original scene where Ebenezer comes to his nephew's home on Christmas Day with some trepidation that he would be rejected because of his previous behaviour. However, he finds that Fred and his wife are delighted to welcome him to their dinner.
The film was released in Great Britain under its original title, Scrooge. United Artists handled the US release under the title A Christmas Carol and the film was originally slated to be shown at New York's Radio City Music Hall as part of their Christmas attraction. However, the theatre management thought the film was too grim and sombre and did not possess enough family entertainment value to warrant an engagement at the Music Hall, in contrast to the 1938 A Christmas Carol, which did premiere at Radio City. Instead, the 1951 film premiered at the Guild Theatre (near the Music Hall, and not to be confused with the Guild Theatre which showcased plays) on Halloween night, 1951. The U.S. reviews were mixed and the film was a box office disappointment. However it was one of the most popular films in Britain in 1952.
The film received a favourable notice from The New York Times when it opened in 1951, and a mixed review in Time magazine criticising the direction while praising the performances, but otherwise had not caused much of a stir. In the years since, it has attained classic status in the U.S. and become a favourite of the viewing public. Sim's characterisation of Scrooge receives particular praise.
A colourised version of the film was released in 1989, and many of the DVD issues include it as an extra.
The film was released on Blu-ray in 2009 by VCI, in a package that also included a DVD copy of the film, cropped into a faux widescreen format. This package only contained minimal bonus features. It was issued again on Blu-ray in 2011 with a remastered transfer, and many bonus features that did not appear in the first Blu-ray version.
- Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge
- Kathleen Harrison as Mrs. Dilber
- Mervyn Johns as Bob Cratchit
- Hermione Baddeley as Mrs. Cratchit
- Michael Hordern as Jacob Marley/Marley's Ghost
- George Cole as Young Ebenezer Scrooge
- John Charlesworth as Peter Cratchit
- Michael Dolan as The Ghost of Christmas Past
- Francis de Wolff as The Ghost of Christmas Present
- C. Konarski as Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
- Rona Anderson as Alice (Belle)
- Carol Marsh as Fan
- Brian Worth as Fred
- Miles Malleson as Old Joe
- Ernest Thesiger as the Undertaker
- Glyn Dearman as Tiny Tim
- Roddy Hughes as Fezziwig
- Hattie Jacques as Mrs. Fezziwig
- Louise Hampton as Laundress
- Eliot Makeham as Mr. Snedrig
- Hugh Dempster as Mr. Groper
- Richard Pearson as Mr. Tupper
- Jack Warner as Mr. Jorkin
- Patrick Macnee as the young Jacob Marley
- Douglas Muir as Businessman
- Clifford Mollison as Samuel Wilkins
- Theresa Derrington as Fred's Maid
Notes and references
- "Robert Beatty in boxing picture.". The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 31 January 1953. p. 3 Supplement: SUNDAY MAGAZINE. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- The Screen In Review; Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol,' With Alastair Sim Playing Scrooge, Unveiled Here, Bosley Crowther, The New York Times, November 29, 1951
- TIME review, December 3, 1951.
- "Dickensblog: Meet the maid: An interview with Theresa Derrington Cozens-Hardy". Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- Scrooge at the Internet Movie Database
- Scrooge at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- www.briandesmondhurst.org -the official legacy website of the director with filmography including Scrooge