A Christmas Carol Stubbornly refusing to believe in Christmas, and to be separated from his inexhaustible wealth, the Victorian money lender and parsimonious recluse, Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim), can’t be bothered with the poor and destitute at the most festive time of the year. Intent on spending the holy night alone, instead, the sceptical curmudgeon is visited by an unexpected and sympathetic friend, Jacob Marley (Sir Michael Hordern), who will pave the way for the inevitable visitation of the otherworldly spirits of Christmas Past (Michael Dolan), Present (Francis De Wolff), and Yet to Come (Czeslaw Konarski). But, what do the pale ghosts want? Can a wicked old miser admit the error in his ways, and embrace change? In the end, is Scrooge ready to love and be loved?
A Christmas Gift
A Christmas Carol If I could take only ten movies to a desert island, this would be one of them. This movie captures all the things that “A Christmas Carol” is supposed to be. Watching Alastair Sim interpret the role of Scrooge and then looking at other actors, I see his incredible facial expressions, the loss of soul that haunts him, the vulnerability (yes, I mean it; he is actually pitiable at times), the loss of love from his once betrothed, and the terrible loneliness suffered at the hands of a vengeful father and the loss of his kind and loving sister, Fan. Then there are the wonderful images and the haunting music. The excellent supporting cast. Mervyn Johns is an excellent Cratchett, multi-dimensional and fun loving. Michael Horden as Jacob Marley (definitely the best performance as the ghost). Scrooge is shown to be calculating at every juncture, but seems to know that in many ways he is wrong. His avarice becomes his mistress and he can’t forsake her. There are wonderful little scenes that I remember. When he stops to have dinner at the restaurant and is told more bread will cost extra, he decides to deny himself a little bit of warmth. There is the scene where Fezziwig loses his business to Scrooge (not a part of the original book but it works fine in the film). Scrooge hesitates for a moment and then barges on, and shows his insensitivity by retaining a worker at a reduction in salary. The scene where Marley is dying and Scrooge waits till the end of business. He then comes to the house and asks “Is he dead yet?” We all know the ending, but there is a joy, a blissful excitement not found in any of the other films. This is all attributable to Alastair Sim. He carries every moment. He shows us what real acting is all about. I treat myself to this movie a couple times a year and it never tires me. See it if you never have.
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