Friday, 26 June 2015

Film Friday: Scrooge (1951)

Next on my DVD shelf is the 1951 classic, Scrooge.
A Christmas classic with Ebenezer Scrooge wonderfully portrayed by Alistair Sim. I like this film mostly because I like Alistair Sim and his superbly expressive hangdog face. 
It is also home to the quote which Andy and myself often bandy about for no good reason: "Such a goose!"

A bitter old miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.

* * *

Scrooge is a film adaptation of Charles Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol' which was released under this name in the United States. 

The film was originally planned to be shown at New York's Radio City Music Hall as part of their Christmas attraction. However, the management thought the film too sombre and didn't possess enough family entertainment value to warrant an engagement at the Music Hall, interestingly in contrast to the 1938 A Christmas Carol, which did premiere at Radio City.
Instead, the 1951 film premiered at the Guild Theatre 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.

I find the use of the word "humbug" rather interesting. I did and I'm sure many others misunderstand the word and that's such a pity as when you know the meaning, you get such an insight into Ebenezer's hatred of Christmas.
 The word "humbug" is used to describe deceitful efforts to fool people by pretending to a fake loftiness or a false sincerity.
So, when Scrooge calls Christmas a humbug, he is of the opinion that people only pretend to charity and kindness in a scoundrel effort to delude him, each other, and themselves. In his eyes, he is the one man honest enough to admit that no one really cares about anyone else, so to him, every wish for a Merry Christmas is one more deceitful effort to fool him and take advantage of him. Scrooge has turned to profit because he honestly believes everyone else will someday betray him or abandon him the moment he trusts them.
Do you see him differently now I wonder?

Also, although the word "Scrooge" means a stingy person now, in Charles Dickens's time, the word was a slang term meaning "to squeeze."

Did you know that although this film is widely regarded as the best film version of Charles Dickens' story, it is the only one which omits Scrooge's famous line: "If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart."
 Alastair Sim would eventually get a chance to say it however, when he reprised his role in the animated A Christmas Carol from 1971 which also featured Michael Hordern returning as Marley.

Is Scrooge one of your favourite Christmas films?


  1. One of my Dad's favourites we watch this every Christmas.

  2. Lovely post! Only the Disney animated version of A Christmas Carol tops this 1950s version as my favourite movie version of Dicken's endless classic (which is also one of my favourite books of all time, hands down).

    Have a beautiful first weekend of summer!
    ♥ Jessica

  3. Love Alistair Sim. I could watch anything with him in it xxx

  4. I have never seen this! I really ought to rectify that at some point.


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