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SCROOGE is the first sound version of Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol," filmed in England in 1935. I think this is one of the best screen adaptations of the story. Ebenezer Scrooge is played with Fieldsian grouchiness and ad-libbed asides by Sir Seymour Hicks, who had played the role on stage for decades, and he's terrific! (I suspect that Dickens scholar W. C. Fields caught some of Hicks's performances.) Donald Calthrop is the best Bob Cratchit I've ever seen; Robert Cochran is enjoyable as Scrooge's nephew Fred, and Philip Frost is cute as Tiny Tim. Director Henry Edwards deserves a round of applause for his careful handling of the story. The period detail is amazing, and the entire production is atmospheric and impressive. This version also goes a little deeper into story detail than most film versions (it's the only version I know in which Tiny Tim is shown in repose -- it's handled tastefully and sensitively by director and actors).
For many years, all you could find on video was the abridged, hour-long version prepared for the educational market in 1941. (This shorter version is well edited and continues to be a budget-price video perennial.) Happily, this new DVD release derives from the original 1935 release, distributed theatrically in America by Paramount. There are about 20 more minutes of footage in this new restoration, and the picture and sound are excellent, definitely superior to the usual video versions that vary in quality. For those who are more familiar with the Alastair Sim and George C. Scott interpretations, give Sir Seymour a try. He'll make himself quite at home.
If you're interested in the shorter version, it has been colorized. Amazon offers it here: Scrooge.
Although there are better versions of "A Christmas Carol" than this 1935 Seymore Hicks version (Sim & Scott are my favorites), the real problem here is that Legend Films is using the heavily edited 63 minute version. The original film was 78 minutes. In addition, advance reviews (at blu-ray.com) say that the print is the same poor quality scratched-up one that they used on the DVD edition.
Currently, the best available prints of this film are the full-length versions issued on DVD by Image or by Front Row. You can see them here: Image: Scrooge Front Row: Adolph Zukor's Scrooge
This release, though, is a total travesty. Two of the BEST scenes in this version are NOT to be found herein: the Ghost of Christmas Present's tour over London and beyond and the wonderfully touching ending to the film, unique in all the Scrooge versions I know of. ( Please see my review on Amazon of this version when LEGEND first released it last year solely in black and white, but truncated all the same, for further information.)
As for the movie, it's not the best version of the story, but it's good and worthwhile for any Christmas Carol collection. It contains scenes on a ship and in a lighthouse that are taken from the book, but rarely filmed. It also has one scene that isn't in ANY other version -- Bob Cratchit mourning over the body of Tiny Tim, upstairs in their home. It's in the book, but a real surprise on film. On the other hand all but one of the ghosts is invisible. Oh well. Buy it anyway, and Merry Christmas!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was the worst version of Scrooge I have ever watched. So sorry I wasted my money. Bah Humbug! Thank goodness there are other great remakes.Published 19 days ago by Jen
Poor quality in the reproduction. I was looking for another one that had more detail in it that was on TV during Christmas. Read morePublished 23 days ago by G. Pounds
Saw that this was included with amazon prime, so I figured I'd give it a try-I was pleasantly suprised, I had never seen this version of scrooge before-I loved it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by ohiogal
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
So live most of your life with selfish greed, ignorant of the suffering of others, angry with anyone who appears to hint at joy... Read more
This story is wonderful, but the quality of this movie leaves something to be desired.Published 2 months ago by Nicolle Perry
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|Help Find an old version of A Christmas Carol||
The 1970 musical "Scrooge" has a horse-drawn hearse pass Scrooge on the stairs. The 1951 Alastair Sim version may also have that scene, thought I'm not certain.
The Sim version DOES have the woman in the yard surrounded by the spirits though, most of the older versions don't.
The... Read More
Dec 29, 2008 by Charlie | See all 19 posts