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Scrooge

3.7 out of 5 stars 273 customer reviews

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(Oct 29, 2002)
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Scrooge

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Restored at last to its full length, this striking adaptation of Charles Dickens' holiday classic is notable not only for its beautiful story but also for superb performances, a vigorous script, excellent pacing, persuasive settings, costumes which utterly capture 1843 London, and impressive moving-camera photography with atmospheric lighting reminiscent of German expressionist cinema. Sir Seymour Hicks, an age-appropriate Scrooge, first played the role on screen in 1913 and delivers a first-class performance; he also co-authored the screenplay and inhabits Scrooge thoroughly, subtly and radiantly. The other characters are secondary but all impeccable, including Donald Calthrop (familiar from his roles in several of Alfred Hitchcock's British films), Maurice Evans, and rotund Oscar Asche as the unforgettably fruity Ghost of Christmas Present. Director Henry Edwards was honored for his work with a prize at the 1935 Venice Film Festival; also note the gifted hand of production supervisor John Brahm, a veteran of German theater and cinema and later director of other fine films including the similarly atmospheric "The Lodger." A wonderful film that would have made Charles Dickens proud!

Amazon.com

This British production of Dickens's Christmas Carol has been eclipsed by subsequent versions, but it stands on its own as a darkly atmospheric (if sometimes regrettably brisk) telling of the beloved tale. Even with the rough quality of existing prints, this Scrooge has a visual intensity that approaches the bold compositions of German expressionism. And in its central role it has a mostly forgotten star: Sir Seymour Hicks, one of the era's celebrated English stage actors. With his gnarled face and flyaway hair, Hicks looks every inch the mean old misanthrope, and his cruelty has a realistic quality missing in some of the more stylized interpreters of the role. Hicks had played Scrooge many times on stage (and before in silent film), and he gets the tenor of every "Humbug!" just right. As a bandy-legged Bob Cratchit, Donald Calthorp is a perfect Victorian illustration come to grinning life. --Robert Horton

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Seymour Hicks, Donald Calthrop, Robert Cochran, Mary Glynne, Garry Marsh
  • Directors: Henry Edwards
  • Writers: Charles Dickens, H. Fowler Mear
  • Producers: Julius Hagen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 29, 2002
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (273 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006IUIT
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,888 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Scrooge" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This review refers to the 2002 DVD release on the "Image" label (orange and green jacket) with film elements from "The Blackhawk Films Collection."

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.
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Format: Blu-ray
This review refers to the Legend Films edition of Scrooge -- it comes in a blue box with gold lettering and a candle on the front.

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
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Colorization, clarity DO NOT matter when 18 essential, vital minutes are hacked out of this version. I have the full movie as released by Image in 2002: try to get this one, if possible. And if you expect to find the full version as an extra on the ULTIMATE Sim version released last year or so...don't be fooled. They offer up the abridged version likewise.

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.)
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Format: DVD
There are several versions of this on DVD. This review is for the Front Row DVD. I'm happy to say that despite the cheap price, the disc is quite acceptable. There ARE a lot of scratches on the print, but the picture is sharp (for it's age) and the sound is very clear. Best of all, the film is complete. This same title is available from Marengo Films as a double feature, but it's missing 17 minutes of footage. (See my review for details.)
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!
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Format: VHS Tape
Although I've seen and treasured some of the other film versions of Charles Dicken's 'A CHRISTMAS CAROL', I still have some heart to this, the first sound version. It bolsters some fine performances by Donald Calthrop as Cratchit and Sir Seymour Hicks as Ebenezer Scrooge (Hicks had also played the role in a silent film, and at sixty-four, is probably the oldest of the many screen incarnations). The photography and production gives out a convincing Victorian atmosphere to the proceedings, and while I didn't like the idea of making Jacob Marley an invisible ghost, the cinematography does give some interesting touches to the visuals, like Scrooge's head superimposed on a large shadow of himself in the 'Christmas Yet to Come' sequences (For some reason, although Scrooge is dressed in pajamas when first visited, the ghostly journeys have him in his business clothes!). It's too bad that most of the video versions edit this film from its 78 minute length to an hour, removing several key scenes (Christmas Past continuing his presentation to Scrooge of how others celebrate Christmas, Tiny Tim saying 'God bless us, everyone!', etc.). Still, an interesting adaptation.
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Topic From this Discussion
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
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