This film has been a part of my life since the first time I saw it about 60 years back. No Christmas season has gone by without my watching it again, sometimes more than once, and with the coming of VHS and DVD, I now view it even more often. Why? Well, I am and have always been a fairly voracious reader, and a highly voracious film viewer, and while I certainly cannot claim to have read even one-twentieth of the novels upon which subsequent films were based, of those I have read there are precious few in which the film version has equaled, or perhaps even slightly surpassed, the original. I could probably count them on the fingers of one hand. This is one of them. (Another is the much underrated - but mainly by critics who have never read the novel - DEATH ON THE NILE, the most perfect realization of an Agatha Christie novel ever filmed, and, because so well-made, perhaps a bit more exciting.) But back to A Christmas CAROL. Dickens is arguably the greatest novelist in the English language, and the characters he creates, the dialog he provides for them, and his general commentary on the most dire or comic situations are indelible and unforgettable to anyone who has indulged in reading him. Possibly because of that, most of his greatest novels have had at least one great film version, and most often a good deal of their greatness has been determined by how closely they stick to the original text. Think of the 1930s version of THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP (with an unforgettable performance by Hay Petrie as Quilp), the 1940s versions of OLIVER TWIST, GREAT EXPECTATIONS and NICHOLAS NICKELBY, and the 1950s version of THE PICKWICK PAPERS. Of course, these all came from England. The one Hollywood excursion into true film greatness by way of Charles Dickens is the incredibly moving 1935 version of A TALE OF TWO CITIES (although they produced a first rate David COPPERFIELD shortly before it). But for me none of these comes as close to a full realization of Dickens as the 1951 Christmas CAROL. Every time I see it I feel like I have truly been transported back to mid-19th century England. The visual filming is absolutely perfect, of course, but it is the performances of the entire cast that make the film the greatest film realization of any of Dickens' works, but most especially that of Alastair Sim as Scrooge. This has to be one of the very greatest acting performances in the entire history of cinema. I have seen any number of other actors in this role - Seymour Hicks, Fredric March (on TV), Albert Finney, George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart - and great actors that they all are, not one comes even close to Sim. As is commented on elsewhere here, he quite literally 'owns' the role, and his is my mind's eye image whenever I think of old Ebenezer Scrooge. (Interestingly, that great British character actor Francis L. Sullivan is my similar mind's eye image of Nero Wolfe whenever I read one of Rex Stout's hilarious mysteries, yet I'm pretty certain Sullivan never played that particular role.) Sim was a great and highly prized comedian, yet his greatest film performance is certainly in this very dramatic and thrilling version of the Dickens classic. And Michael Hordern is just as definitive as the ghost of Jacob Marley - has ever this condemned spirit been so hapless, shrill and self-condemnatory as Hordern makes him, or so concerned with saving his friend Scrooge from the torment now visited upon himself? You can only pray that his condemnation is not for all eternity, but, like Hamlet's ghost, only a temporary state until his sins have been expiated. And, amazingly enough, George Cole, playing Scrooge as a better-hearted young man, looks amazingly like a young Alastair Sim, or at least a young Scrooge who will grow into the old Scrooge we now see before us. For me, this is not just a perfect film realization of a great short novel, but quite simply one of the most perfect movies ever made (another one would be the 1940 THIEF OF BAGDAD, but it was not based on anything so concretely unchangeable as a Dickens novel), one so grandly flawless that the imagination cannot conceive of it ever being done as well again.
Scrooge (1951) 1080p YIFY Movie
Scrooge (1951) 1080p
Scrooge is a movie starring Alastair Sim, Jack Warner, and Kathleen Harrison. An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve...
IMDB: 8.13 Likes
The Synopsis for Scrooge (1951) 1080p
Stingy businessman Ebenezer Scrooge is known as the meanest miser in Victorian London. He overworks and underpays his humble clerk, Bob Cratchit, whose little son, Tiny Tim, is crippled and may soon die. He also has nothing to do with his nephew, Fred, because his birth cost the life of his beloved sister. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge has a haunting nightmare from being visited by the ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley. He is visited by three ghosts and is given one last chance to change his ways and save himself from the grim fate that befell Marley.
The Director and Players for Scrooge (1951) 1080p
The Reviews for Scrooge (1951) 1080p
It's Almost Too Perfect for Mere Words to ExpressReviewed byjoe-pearce-1Vote: 10/10
This film is one I will watch year after year and surpasses the other versions I've seen in so many ways ... even if Noel Langley's screenplay liberties with Dickens' novel led to an inescapable character error.
In Langley's screenplay, we're led to believe that Scrooge's father blames him for his wife's death during childbirth ... which later leads Scrooge to blame his nephew for the death of his younger sister (Fan) under the same circumstances. The flaw? The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge back to his boarding school. Fan comes to take Scrooge home, saying that their father has repented and become kinder. Scrooge remarks how much Fan looks like their mother ... and Fan replies, saying it might be the reason why he's become kinder. But, if Fan was Scrooge's younger sister and if their mother died during Scrooge's childbirth, Fan couldn't exist ... because their mother was already dead and buried by the time she would have been born.
In Dickens' novel, the death of Scrooge's mother is only implied. And Fan's death is only mentioned as happening when she was an adult. Death during childbirth was not associated with either the mother or Fan ... implying that the "distancing" between Scrooge's father and Scrooge, as well as between Scrooge and Fred, was merely because both had become miserly and unfeeling men of business. And in the novel, Dickens referred to Fan as being, quote, "much younger than the boy" (referring to Ebenezer). If Langley referred to Fan as being "older" than Ebenezer, it could have been seen as merely a screenplay writer taking "license" to revise the novel. But Langley didn't make such a reference ... which probably left Dickens readers scratching their heads.
That error aside, the film was completely enjoyable and will certainly be enjoyed by future generations as much as my generation has enjoyed it.
P.S. Trivial tidbit. While death during childbirth was common in Dickens time, it wasn't as common as death by consumption (today called tuberculosis). Dickens own younger sister died from the disease ... and her name was Fan.
Some of the "Cockney" phrases and snippets of dialog were a wee bit hard to keep up with (like a foreign language), and some of the actual Dickens' novel is not in this version (but is in the 1938 movie), but all in all this is the best version. Alastair Sim should have won an Oscar for best actor.