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Scrooge was designed as a follow-up to 1968's Oliver, the Oscar-winning musicalization of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. The umpteenth musical version of Dickens' 1843 novelette A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is blessed with several sprightly Leslie Bricusse songs, including the bonafide hit Thank You Very Much. Once more buried under mounds of latex, Albert Finney is perfection itself as Ebeneezer Scrooge, proving as effective as a young (un-made up) man as the old skinflint we've grown to love. The Three Ghosts who turn the miserly Scrooge's life around on Christmas Eve are portrayed by Edith Evans (Past), Kenneth More (Present) and Paddy Stone (Yet to Come). Our favorite among the huge, predominantly British supporting cast is Sir Alec Guinness as a fussy, slightly effeminate Marley's Ghost. Best of all, Finney performs his many songs "live" and not lip-synched to a pre-recording. Though it is overproduced to the hilt, and its Technicolor photography tends to induce eyestrain, Scrooge is more than satisfactory Yuletide entertainment.
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This version takes several odd liberties with the original book by Charles Dickens. For one thing, it contains a scene in which a shopkeeper tells a man named Mr. Bisset that 1846 was the best vintage in twenty years. Later, the Ghost of Christmas Present asks Scrooge what year it is, and Scrooge tells him that it is 1860. Most versions of this Dickens classic refer to 1843 (if any year at all) - the year A Christmas Carol was originally published. The specific mention of the years 1846 and 1860 must be an inside joke I don't get; however, I did discover that British copper coins were changed to bronze after 1860.
Another odd addition to this version of A Christmas Carol is that the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge going to hell, where Marley shows him to his cell, which is freezing, and where Scrooge has the honor of serving as Lucifer's clerk.
Even my wife, who hates musicals in general, enjoyed the songs in this one.
The blu ray is FANTASTIC. Beautiful colors, very sharp, only the mildest of grain (which just lends authenticity and realism, since this WAS filmed in 1970). Excellent sound. I respectfully disagree with a reviewer who felt the colors in this blu ray are too muted and brownish (his objection read something like that). Sure, that's true for the city scenes and the indoor scenes, which were INTENTIONALLY filmed that way to make one think this was indeed the 1700s. BUT, watch the OUTDOOR scenes in the COUNTRY (such as Scrooge with the Ghost of Christmas Past viewing children (incl. his sister), in bright, multi-colored clothes, on a horse-drawn wagon in the very bright-white snow . . . and also the scene of a young Scrooge with his lady on the lake, with all the VIVID green grass in the background). These are BRIGHT, VIVID, BEAUTIFUL colors even by TODAY's standards. Nothing dull, muted, or brownish.
The Blu Ray differs from the DVD, which I also own, in that the DVD contains the opening music prelude while the blu ray doesn't (why not??). Also, the blu ray is of course noticeably sharper on a Hi-def TV, but I must say that the DVD is still acceptably sharp on a Hi-def TV and is extremely sharp on my older, tube-type TV.
Overall, BOTH the blu ray and DVD are HIGHLY recommended for their quality in all respects, and of course for this 1970 Albert Finney musical version, the best film version of this classic Dickens tale.
This movie is pure is full pure sadness, misery, greed and lost love, much like real life but with great Dicken's atmosphere and some awesome songs. Also, like reality, it's the fear of hell that changes his tune, but as he is giving extravagantly to others and witnessing their happiness, you can see his joy from the act of giving, which was a profound life lesson, when I was small about a different perspective on the value of money.
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