JT Film Review

67 – A Christmas Carol (1951)

A Christmas Carol (or Scrooge (US)) REVIEW

4/5 stars

Director – Brian Desmond Hurst

Cast – Alastair Sim, Mervin Johns, Michael Hordorn, Michael Dorn, Francis De Wolff, C. Knoarski, Glyn Dearman

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Watching A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve is one of those traditions that all families seem to have. The version they tend to watch is this one, starring Alastair Sim. He is often called “the definitive Scrooge”, and while I have not seen too many other Scrooge’s, I can see why people may think this. Personally I am still waiting to find “my” Scrooge so to speak, but until then Sims is a perfect substitute.

Alastair Sims portrays Scrooge as not particularly cruel, but as a man who is tired of life and who is concerned with keeping himself alive and well in a hostile world. His attitude (as directly expressed in one scene) is that the world is a hostile place, and to survive in it you must also be harsh and hostile. This is certainly not as we tend to view the Scrooge character in our popular culture today. We instead see him as a mean, grumpy creature who loves others misfortune. He is more three dimensional here.

However I do think that Scrooge is presented as a bit too nice. He changes almost right after he is shown his first vision. Also, the first ghost , The Ghost of Christmas Past, takes up almost half of the movie, while the others have progressively smaller roles.

The atmosphere of the movie is well done, but not extraordinary. It is presented in Black & White, so the grimness of London and Scrooge’s life attitude are represented well. The special effects are good for their time, mainly consisting of two of the ghosts being fairly transparent.

The DVD on which I watched this was not of the highest quality though, and I believe that is the only copy available. It is certainly the only one I’ve seen. It claims to be digitally remastered, and they even have a demonstration in the Special Features of before and after the remastering. However this is almost laughable, as the difference between the two is nearly non-existent.

OVERALL

A Christmas Carol is a fairly faithful, albeit traditional and badly aged, presentation of the original story. Sims makes a great Scrooge, and the supporting cast is suitable. At times it may go a bit over the top, but its all in earnest. If you get in the spirit it is quite a good movie.

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TRAILER

“A Christmas Carol” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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December 6, 2009 - Posted by | 4 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Drama, Year - 1950-1959 | , , , , ,

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