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Plot:

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?

Also Known As: Lo schiavo dell'oro, A Christmas Carol, Το Πνεύμα των Χριστουγέννων, Рождественский гимн Soviet, Egoisten, Σκρουτζ, Andarnas natt, Скрудж, Cuento de Navidad de Dickens, Gnieren og stakkels Tim, Saiturin joulu, Charles Dickens - Eine Weihnachtsgeschichte West, Scrooge, Scrooge - Karácsonyi történet, Cancion de navidad, Charles Dickens - Eine Weihnachtsgeschichte, Рождественский гимн, Contos de Natal, Scrooge en Marley, O Homem e o Espectro

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26 Comments

  • levy
    Levy

    Always problems here take this site down.👎🏿👎🏿👎🏿💩💩💩

  • adela-ochoa
    adela ochoa

    The ONLY one you ever need to see, period.What you need to avoid is the colorized version — beware, there’s one out there — but otherwise, stop here. In almost a hundred years of filming this story, THIS is the definitive version.

  • katica-simunovic
    katica simunovic

    This classic film, which used to be shown every year, has recently been broadcast in the United States once again, for the first time in many years. I don’t know why it seemingly disappeared for so long, but its’ return is certainly welcome!For generations, versions of this particular story has been done many times on stage, on radio, in film and on television. However, a great many people consider this particular version to be the best, and I think I know why.The difference between this version of Dickens’ story and most others is simply that, in this case, the film was not treated as a retelling of an old, familiar and well-loved story. Instead, the makers of this film played it absolutely straight, treating the well-known story as though it had never been dramatized before. Everybody involved plays it absolutely straight, right down the line, with no unnecessary histrionics. All of the cast, from Alastair Sim on down, play their respective parts as characters, not as caricatures. This version is unhesitatingly recommended to anyone who has never before seen any other version of “A Christmas Carol”, as well as to those who has previously seen any other version.

  • paul-edwards
    paul edwards

    Can’t add much to what’s already been posted, but I wanted to direct everyone’s attention to a perfect little scene that always choked me up. It’s the scene between Scrooge and Fred’s wife (played by Olga Edwardes) right after Scrooge is introduced to Fred’s party guests. Fred’s wife – looking unbelievably beautiful and frightened at the same time – waits for Scrooge to speak. Alistair Sim delivers that great line with heartbreaking and humble tenderness: ” Can you forgive an old man for being too blind to see, too deaf to hear all…these…years”. Perfect. Her reaction is perfect as well. She melts ( no other word to describe it), rises and says: ” Dear Uncle. You’ve made Fred so happy. ” She clasps his shoulders,and kisses him on both cheeks, with a whispered ” Bless You” in between ,then hugs him. I always turn to blubber. You know you’re watching a masterpiece when such care is taken in casting and direction.

  • khristina-magdalene-sokolake
    khristina magdalene sokolake

    I have been in love with this movie ever since I first saw it when I was about 5 or 6. Ever since then, every Christmas I have sat down to watch this amazing classic film about a wicked man who is visited by three spirits who hope to make him change his ways.It’s obvious that this is the best film adaptation of Dickens’ novel in existence, and it’s probably the most well known. The movie is made so well, it was really a milestone for films back then. The special effects in this movie are really good for their time, and they still hold up today. This movie just has a Christmassy feel to it. You get that Christmas feeling when you’re watching it, just like you might get the Halloween feeling when watching Halloween. The performances in this movie are something else. Alastair Sim gave the best performance of his career in this film.I truly believe that A Christmas Carol set the tone for Christmas movies of that era and of today. It really is the best Christmas movie ever made, and not only that, but it is an amazing movie outside of the Christmas season as well. This is a classic that will still be going strong in another 55 years.10/10

  • graciela-cortez
    graciela cortez

    “Scrooge”, A/K/A “A Christmas Carol”, with Alastair Sims is the best, by far, adaptation of the Dickens holiday classic. Alastair Sims was the perfect choice to play Scrooge. Sims took Scrooge from a lonely, unfeeling man who cared only for money, to a person who finally got it, and reformed. The other cast members including, but not limited to, Kathleen Harrison, Mervin Johns, and Hermione Baddeley all did a fantastic job. This film was directed by Brian Desmond Hurst and filmed in glorious Black and White. I have seen this film over 15 times and never tire of it. Once you’ve seen this classic, no other adaptation of Dickens’ story will measure up. Enjoy! John R. Tracy

  • rozhkov-frol-izmailovich
    rozhkov frol izmailovich

    It’s taken me an eternity to finally get to see what’s reputed as the definitive “Christmas Carol.” No matter how many enactments of Dickens’ classic I experienced, it seemed none had begun to do justice to the images formed in my mind by the book’s grim depictions of Victorian-era England. The first thing one realizes in this particular version is director Brian Desmond-Hurst’s “time-marches-on” approach (not to mention his total lack of pretentiousness–a factor which has ultimately felled all other treatments); as well as the screenplay frittering away no time whatsoever in getting to Scrooge’s visits with the ghosts. The penetration into the miser’s past is the focal point of the film, and Sim’s performance has a through-and-through naturalness that makes his exuberance on Christmas morning that much more palpable. There’s a mechanical nature to the character’s near-recitation of his familiar lines at the start, but his sheer vulnerability (something distinctly lacking in, say, George C. Scott’s portrayal) from then onward gives it perfect sense. Sim is every inch the visual equal to his radio-Scrooge counterpart, Basil Rathbone.Other factors contribute towards making the film the complete triumph it is: things like the visit from the ghost of Christmas Present, and the scene in the future depicting Tiny Tim’s funeral preparations, which for once are truly heart-wrenching.It looks like the real thing; it sounds like the real thing; Lord knows it feels like it. It might as well BE the real thing.

  • eka-shavaze
    eka shavaze

    This is considered the standard Scrooge movie by which all others are compared to. If it is, then it’s all about Alastair Sim’s portrayal. The differences in story lines seem insignificant. Some of them do stretch out a bit even though the running length is less than 90 minutes. More than anything, it is Alastair Sim’s take on the character as well as his look that becomes a template for the rest. His bulging eyes are unforgettable.I do have one big problem. And that is the colorized version. This is a dark tale, and it probably works better in black and white. The colors used make it look cheap. It’s rather distressing, and a waste of time to watch. If you want color, you might as well watch the countless other modern versions.

  • anya-sisoyan
    anya sisoyan

    There isn’t much to say that isn’t written already here, or what is known as regards the story. Charles Dickens smashing fantasy A Christmas Carol is a story that stands the test of time for generations past and will do so for many generations to come. This version stands out chiefly because of it’s incredible central performance by Alastair Sim as the miserly old misery guts Ebenezer Scrooge. He perfectly layers the transformation as the tale progresses, from the horrid bitter man at the film’s beginning to the joyous man of heart come the finale, Sim convinces in each phase of his stripped bare journey that the ghosts take him on. The story is full of family values and messages of hope, it makes you sad and then lifts you to a very high place, it is in short, essential viewing at the holiday season, because ultimately it is the season to be jolly.Definitive version from source, and not forgetting to be a ghost story either, Scrooge is Christmas season gold, so thank you Charles Dickens, and thank you Alastair Sim. 9/10

  • baranov-georgii-evstigneevich
    baranov georgii evstigneevich

    There are two movies that crop up repeatedly on television at Christmas. One is “It’s a Wonderful Life,” less often now that it’s no longer in the public domain. The other is this version of Charles Dickens’ story. Curiously enough, both films deserve the honors.This one is fine in every respect. It was directed by Brian Desmond Hurst, who used to call himself “The Empress of Ireland.” The studio was small, with few locations shots and limited stages. Yet, it comes as close as any other attempt in catching Dickens at his best. It could be argued that the movie is better than the novel, as it is, in my opinion.Is it really necessary to outline the plot? Okay. An old and bitter miser is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve — the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. They — well, they scare the dickens out of him and he reforms forthwith.Ebeneezer Scrooge is played to near perfection by Alastair Sim, and all the other performances are fine. The photography and lighting are done by C. M. Pennington-Richards, who deserves some kind of medal for making something out of nearly nothing.The squalor we see on the screen was very real in Dickens’ time, the 1840s. There were no safety nets if you lost your job or grew old, except inadequate private charities and government poor houses. And it was the age of horrifying and deadly infectious diseases like typhoid and cholera. Half the funerals of the day were for children. It’s an oddity that when Dickens visited the United States he met and chatted with Edgar Allan Poe. One wonders what in God’s name they had to talk about.It might be worth pointing out that after his epiphany, Ebeneezer Scrooge remained a prosperous businessman and capitalist. There was no more talk of letting the poor die off and reduce the population, but neither did Scrooge man the barricades. He didn’t become a socialist. He just stopped being a Social Darwinist and became a Mensch. No need to go on about it. It’s a fine and very moral movie.

  • shchukin-luka-timurovich
    shchukin luka timurovich

    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.

  • fatih-corlu
    fatih corlu

    Christmas returns annually with its usual run of Christmas films… some are memorable, others survive a few years, while in the end, critics and public alike regard only a handful as classics… among these, “It’s a wonderful life,” “A Christmas Story,” “White Christmas,” “Charlie Brown Christmas,” and “Miracle on 34th Street.” Film studios have remade Charles Dickens’ story of “A Christmas Carol” so many times, people often mistake one version for another.The original story saved both the career of Dickens, down on his luck, and the holiday of Christmas, largely forgotten by the public of the 1830’s. However, the moment publishers released the novel, the public clamored for more. Three years later, the play ran continuously all over London and the book went through six printings, resurrecting Dickens’ reputation as a storyteller and the idea that Christmas should remind the public to help the poor and destitute. At this time, one in ten London funerals was a child, usually death by malnutrition or starvation in a city blessed with opulence. After the release of “A Christmas Carol,” lawmakers strived to rid the community of workhouses and debtor’s prisons.In the Twentieth Century, the story struck studios as a waiting gold mine, starting in the silent era, having made no less than twenty-eight versions of the story since 1900. MGM released the first large production in 1938 with Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge. This version appalled the English, as MGM made major changes to the novel’s story. Other studios produced similar ‘cut’ versions around the same time. However, it was producer George Minter trying to save a small studio in England named Renown Pictures, who persuaded writer Noel Langley to adapt the Dickens’ novel into a screenplay. He had been friends with George Cole who lived next door to Alastair Sim, known for his comic roles. The pair just finished starring in a comedy film together when they came to audition for acting producer and director, Brian Hurst (Hurst demanded to see if Sims could do a ‘serious’ role). However, Minter ran the show at Renown Pictures and hired Sims on the spot (along with Cole as the younger Scrooge). Minter also hired Set Designer Ralph Brinton (later Oscar nominated for “Tom Jones”) and cinema photographer, C. Pennington-Richards (who had a rather short tragic career). Richards went with a rather dark look on the film that added to the austere sets of Brinton. Sim took to the role of Scrooge with relish, painting a truly evil man whose dour expressions and stone reflection on his partner’s death left audiences cold and surprised the comic actor pulled the part off so well.Unfortunately, Minter’s plans to debut the film at New York’s Radio City Music Hall that Christmas turned disastrous when the hall’s committee rejected the film as ‘too dark’ for America audiences. It played at a theater around the corner for three weeks, panned by critics and the American public. Minter quickly pulled the film back to England. However, the film ran to pack houses and rave reviews in England where it enjoyed a long run. During production, many famous people visited the set including Bette Davis and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, along with Dickens’ grandniece. She declared the film, “the only genuine representation of my great-uncle’s work.” The film then fell into obscurity and America audiences were largely surprised when it began to turn up on television around Christmas time. They had mostly seen the Reginald Owen or George C. Scott versions (Scott’s being the least Scrooge-like with his ‘I’ll phone it in,’ performance). As if discovering a long lost art treasure, critics changed their tune and America embraced the Alastair Sim version as the official “Scrooge.” In 2007, VCI Home Video purchased the rights and went back to the original film negative to make a ‘restored’ version released last year (selling in stores this year for less than $15).The restored “Scrooge” is wonderful to see with prolonged scenes and the opening fully restored (the hand pulling the book down from the shelf and so on). The blacks are blacker, the lines sharp, the artifact removed, and the original soundtrack restored without hiss. Alastair Sims and his miraculous transformation into the endearing beloved comic at the end is warmly embraced by English audiences annually as a true Christmas tradition. While we have our American films, such as “It’s a wonderful life” and “White Christmas,” Dickens’ classic English tale gives us the story that saved Christmas and reminds us that this season is not simply a Christian holiday, but a human one as well. This is a time of year when we reach out to those less fortunate and offer some warmth and happiness, so that we may all enjoy life’s blessings. If you bother to watch any film this holiday season, take the time to see the Alastair Sims’ version (1951) of Charles Dickens’ “Scrooge” in the restored edition, and may God bless us all, everyone.

  • lieve-den-buytelaar
    lieve den buytelaar

    I positively love the Alastair Sims version of A Christmas Carol… simply titled “Scrooge” upon its 1951-2 release. It’s the first I recall seeing, and it began my devotion to reading just about everything Dickens has put to pen.Now that said, I have noticed countless people who comment that this is the “truest” to the novel, and I’m sorry; but having read this particular novella at LEAST a couple of hundred times… (several times every Christmas), I can assure you that it in no WAY is the truest to the actual novel. But this in no way detracts from its own value as a moving experience in watching the transformation of the quintessential Scrooge in the person of Alastair Sims.Where it deviates GREATLY with the book: 1.) There is no Belle, we have the girl of his love changed into an “Alice”… why this name change defies any logic I can fathom. 2.) Unlike the Belle whom we see happily married with children, giving Scrooge a glimpse of what he’d lost, (still with the Ghost of Christmas Past)… we later have her shown as a poor spinster working as some nurse or volunteer in an almshouse, poorhouse, or some such institution (and that by the Ghost of Christmas PRESENT)–completely not in the book, and, I think, an unnecessary deviation from a much better scenario presented by the book’s original author. 3.) The first scene of young Scrooge left “back at school” has him practically a man, not the little boy reveling in the stories of Ali Baba, and Robinson Crusoe, and the Parrot! Fan, is practically a woman, not the excited tiny girl who had to reach up just to put her arms around her brother’s neck. Again, these do not prevent it from being a good movie; but are a disappointment to a purist like myself who would truly like the movies to be more faithful to the book. I am stunned by the number of people who often think this to be one of the most faithful, when, if anything, it deviates from the actual text, if anything, MORE than most.The manner in which Scrooge and his later partner, Marley, join forces at another business (not anywhere in the book)… the manner in which they procure Fezziwig’s own business, and put him OUT of business, (not anywhere in the book), the continuing sequence of scenes of his hard business dealings (nowhere in the book)… His bedside scene where Fan dies and she makes him promise to look after her son… (nope not in the book)… the bedside scene of Marley’s death… also not in the book. create a mountain of little infidelities which, while unfaithful to the actual text, DO manage to create a nice Christmas story–just, at least as I see it…NOT the one Dickens created.The scenes created in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Present (with the exception of the “Alice” scene), are among the few that do remain somewhat more faithful to the written story, although much is left out as well. The episode with the Ghost of Christmas future is practically inverted, with the first scene at the Cratchits, (which is practically the last in the book)… but this minor item can be overlooked as much of the dialogue at the ‘Change, is faithful to the text and the BEST scene, in my humble opinion, is that of the Undertaker, the charwoman, and Mrs. Dilber in their dealings with Old Joe, which I find delightfully close to the text.Of course we all know how it ends, the great transformation. This is handled very well, and close enough to the book to satisfy even persnickety folks like me, especially since the lad shouts “Walk-ER” instead of some of the inane substitutions made by those newer versions which feel this compulsive need to translate things into a more common language for the viewer. And with all that said, I give it seven stars… actually it merits an 8 1/2 as a thoroughly enjoyable and inspirational Christmas story… but I penalize it for its vast variance from the actual text, and in my opinion overuse of poetic license, and therefore, round it back down to seven; but here… don’t let this Dickens purist and curmudgeon detract you in the least. It IS, after all is said and done… a very good motion picture! And that’s MY take on it!

  • panoraia-armata
    panoraia armata

    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.

  • varga-anna
    varga anna

    Best version on film of the timeless Dickens story. There are other versions I enjoy as well, and some more so for sentimental reasons. But, objectively, I believe this is the best version on a technical and artistic level. The production is first-rate. The cast is excellent. Especially Alastair Sim, who is perfect casting as Scrooge. He adds little touches to the character that sets his performance apart from the countless other Scrooges. As for the story, well unless you have been living under a rock or weren’t raised in an English-speaking country, then you should know the plot to this classic. Miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve to show him the error of his ways. Obviously I recommend the book because it’s a seminal classic. But, as far as film versions go, this is the one everyone should see first.

  • karl-mattila
    karl mattila

    I hesitate to add to the avalanche of praise bestowed, on this site,on this perfect picture, the definitive Scrooge of all time, which Ihave watched, spellbound, every Christmas since I was threeyears old and will continue to watch as long as I am breathing. Iendorse the review already placed here by “jackboot”; and I havealso been particularly touched by that small scene betweenScrooge and the maid, with not a word spoken, that “Seashell 1″mentions. Two points I would like to underline here which I havenot seen mentioned by others: First, this is about the only”Christmas Carol” movie that remembers to be a GHOST story aswell as a Christmas story. The superb camera work by Pennington-Richards and the powerful score by Richard Addinsellhelp to make this movie rather scary in places, as it should be.Nowhere else have I seen the grim bleakness of the grimier sideof Victorian London so immediately conveyed. The scene whereMarley’s ghost is caught out in the snowstorm with a multitude ofother wailing spirits is truly horrifying; and there are many suchmoments, such as the one where the Spirit of Christmas Presentsuddenly reveals to us the personifications of Ignorance andWant; they really scared me as a kid, and they should scare us allas adults now. Secondly, and above all, I think that the reason whyAlastair Sim succeeds so brilliantly here in a role which hasdefeated so many is that he was chiefly a COMIC actor. EbenezerScrooge has from the beginning an underlying humor whichmakes him human; by allowing it to come out he makes thetransformation plausible, by making you understand that thishumor was dormant in him all along, just waiting to be awakened.It just isn’t Christmas without Sim.

  • harry-grasso
    harry grasso

    I do love Charles Dickens, critics of his might say that he went for the emotional jugular and that he even might be sentimental or even worse manipulative, but really, he had a consistent message to get out: that the plight of the poor and unfortunate is everyone’s concern, and this story tells it best – against the backdrop of the Christmas season, the time to celebrate, give gifts and welcome friends and family into warm homes to share festivity and generosity. I think that a Christmas Carol is not so much a tale for the family as it is Dickens trying again to pierce hardened hearts of the – during that time – men in society. The men who had trained their eyes not to look down at the gutter or the darkened doorways where society’s less than fortunates were cowering for mercy, help, a hand up or a hand out. I think this story speaks directly to those men in Dickens’ day who could do the most to rectify the wrongs described in this tale. Those less fortunates were there in Dickens’ day just as they are with us now, and just as there are influential, prosperous and greedy men and women Scrooges among us today who coolly and easily stare straight ahead past those less fortunates instead of choosing to extend a helping hand. I never could appreciate what this story was really about until I became an adult and witnessed the great divide in our society between the Have’s and Have-not’s and the amazingly steeled resolve of those among the Have’s to enjoy the Christmas season while not really being concerned at all with those poor souls in the ranks of the Have-not’s. “At this time of year, Mr. Scrooge, when want is most keenly felt…”.Dickens largely devoted himself to the plight of the less fortunate – and we should all be so generous to show even a trifle of such concern for our fellows in need. Many Britons would probably agree that after Churchill, Dickens is one of England’s great men, greatest men perhaps, one of England’s greatest people ever. A real humanitarian dedicated to social change.And so, to the role of Scrooge in this edition of this great story – the role every mature actor hopes he’ll get a chance to play – comes Alistair Sims and he certainly does the role of Scrooge no disservice. I’ll agree with one of my fellow reviewers in saying that I’m not sure if he owns the role outright, but surely, no one yet has emerged to lay a better claim to it. Certainly not one-note and pompous little Patrick Stewart. George C. Scott acquits himself admirably, but certainly cannot claim to own this role.So many of the other reviews here have stated well the praise that Mr. Sims deserves for his portrayal of Scrooge, and many have made mention of their own favorite and classic lines from the movie. I’ll not try to restate what has already been written so well before me, but instead, I’ll point out for others some of my favorite little details of this great story and specifically of this particular version.I think some of the greatest lines of all are reserved for the ghost of old Jacob Marley, dead for seven years, who comes to call late on Christmas Eve and warn Scrooge to change his ways. His indignation at Scrooge for referring to him as “a good man of business” by screaming that “mankind was my business!” was a perfect retort to the old miser. Marley disparages how he had lived – and how Scrooge was presently living – and further, reduces their life’s work to no more than bald faced greed with the disdainful line “my concern never roved beyond the confines of our money changing hole!”. His description of the chain he “forged in life, link by link” that was now choking and weighing him down in the after-life and the warning to Scrooge of how “your own coil was as full and long as mine these seven years ago and you have been laboring on it since. It is a ponderous chain!” In a way, I think that the Marley character might be the juiciest role, rarely have I seen it given the appropriate weight to show the full measure of remorse for a life misspent and the ominous warning for a friend heading down the same path of damnation for all eternity. The degree to which this role is played gives Scrooge that much more of a contemptible and hardened crust to be cracked by the spirits to come because of Scrooge’s self-righteous and indignant dismissal of Marley’s ghost. Marley, being the closest thing to what Scrooge could describe as a friend, is a tortured soul condemned to torment in perpetuity. Marley only seeks to warn his old friend to turn back before it is too late, but his friend is already too far gone to heed his warning.After the chilling visit of Marley and the bitter revisiting of Scrooge’s past, the appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Present is a welcome and wonderful respite. He embodies the goodness of how we all wish Christmas to be: merry, abundant, good through and through for all, no matter their station in life. His exit, when he is abruptly changed from ruddy faced and jolly to serious, old and grey has always struck me. Particularly, I never understood until I was much older the two miserable, hollow-eyed and gaunt children that clung to his robe – the boy and the girl, “Ignorance” and “Want” and the ghost’s warning to watch out for the boy in particular. I still find that moment chilling and still relevant today.Most moving of all to me is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be’s stop at the Cratchit family’s house in the future. The heavy air, everyone trying to buck up and keep a stiff upper lip while under a heavy pall and poor Bob Cratchit’s brave but feeble attempt at putting a positive spin on things for his family by talking cheerily of the lovely gravesite they picked out until he loses his composure, sobbing “my poor little child” in debilitating grief. The Bob Cratchit part is a good one, not a big part, but a very important one that reveals what harm Scrooge has wrought through his miserly and cheap existence. Without Bob Cratchit and his poor family’s real suffering under Scrooge, we don’t get to fully appreciate how bad Scrooge’s dastardly handiwork is and just how dramatic his ultimate salvation really is.The other character that reflects directly on Scrooge and in this case as a perfect mirror of what Scrooge has not become is dear old Fezziwig. Oh, would that every business owner and capitalist today were as decent and altruistic as he!Watch this film, taste every morsel and savor every bite! It is a feast for the heart. Where “It’s a Wonderful Life” transforms a truly good man who already thinks only of others by showing him what he could not see about himself and thus saves him from bitterness, despair and suicide, “A Christmas Carol” in contrast gives us as hateful and diabolical a man as we could ever hope not to meet. A man who smugly has no regrets, no remorse, and feels no guilt for his absolutely selfish ways and it is only when he is finally forced to see what he has caused does he realize that in order to ultimately save himself – and all those his life touches – from himself he must embrace goodness. His transformation into a man that is good and that is concerned for others is at the end truly a cause for joy and celebration. Both films – while now canonized as family classics – I believe, are targeted specifically at adults.Either to warn and prod the selfishly immobile into benevolent action, as in “A Christmas Carol”, or to show what surely every adult with heaping responsibilities must feel at some time: feelings of uselessness, disappointment and discouragement that have wrongly overshadowed the good acts in one’s life, as in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. In either film you get a joyous transformation of the soul by the end. There is no shortage of reminders these days to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” but please! don’t ever let a Christmas go by without watching Alistair Sims in his masterful portrayal of Scrooge – along with all the other fine performances – in “A Christmas Carol”.

  • matthew-hernandez-dvm
    matthew hernandez dvm

    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.

  • megan-ramirez
    megan ramirez

    On Christmas Eve in 1840’s England, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who warns him to change his ways or be doomed to eternal damnation. The ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future to show him the error of Scrooge’s ways and show the people who are able to keep Christmas in their hearts 365 days a year. Easily the best adaptation of the Dickens classic which can be attributed to several reasons. Sim’s performance transcends all description of greatness. Hurst’s direction evokes the ideal emotions at all the right moments. The rest of the cast remain faithful to the Dickens’ characterizations. A perfect film to watch during the holiday season. Rating, 10.

  • david-park
    david park

    I have not seen Albert Finney’s nor George C. Scott’s portrayal of Scrooge, so I cannot say definitively that Alastair Sim ‘owns’ this role, but I sure have trouble imagining anyone topping him; he is superb, the nitpicking comments of TinMan-5 notwithstanding. This version will always have a special place in my affections, and I am glad to see I’m not alone in holding this opinion.

  • sara-dyer
    sara dyer

    I am sure Charles Dickens would be more than pleased with the film adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol’. A truly remarkable film that never fails to delight me. There are so many poignant scenes. When for instance Scrooge asks his nephew’s wife for forgiveness for being a ‘pig headed old fool’ it never fails to have me reaching for the nearest tissues. However, the one scene that sticks in my mind is where Scrooge is settling down to eat his bowl of soup in his dressing gown and slippers in front of the fire. The expression on his face on hearing the voice of Jacob Marley, and subsequently dropping his spoon and its contents into his soup bowl, is for me a cinematic treasure.

  • melanie-holden
    melanie holden

    Many adaptations of Dickens’ Christmas book have been and gone, but this is generally thought to be one of the definitive films of the story.Brian Desmond Hurst directs a fine cast, headed by the incomparable Alastair Sim (a man who can play both malevolent and humorous) as the about-to-be-redeemed Ebenezer Scrooge. Sim’s reactions are priceless and he settles down well in the role. Michael Hordern is a less successful Marley, certainly when he visits as a ghost, but the three Ghosts of Christmas are just as you imagine – Christmas Past is a wise old sage, Christmas Present is a jovial party-giver …Strengths of this production include the opening out of events of the past into a linear narrative (George Cole plays young Scrooge for the early segments), and the playing of Mervyn Johns and Hermoine Baddeley as the Cratchits. It is a film which has holly, plum pudding, and carol singers written all over it, from the use of Christmas tunes in the music track, to the roaring fires and snow-strewn streets in which everyone makes merry for the festive day.

  • liz-bekbergen-perrono
    liz bekbergen perrono

    I think the reason this has endured as everyone’s favorite film version of “A Christmas Carol” is, of course, Alastair Sim’s amazing performance, but also because it is the least sentimental of all the film treatments. The ghosts aren’t pretty young girls or comic figures; Tiny Tim isn’t cutesy or twinkling, but rather an unlovely, honestly sweet young boy, and London doesn’t look like a Christmas card, but dark and properly harsh. Scrooge’s reclamation is hard-won, but when he is reclaimed, Sim’s transformation of the character is miraculous — he actually looks like a different person.The touch I love the most, though, is the old ballad “Barbara Allen” played through the scenes with Fan and Fred — it never fails to make me tear up. This movie is as much a holiday must-see as “A Christmas Story” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

  • musure-sahil-sezer
    musure sahil sezer

    Scrooge is the definitive Christmas story. Ebenezer Scrooge is a wealthy businessman in Victorian London and a miser. One Christmas Eve he is visited by the ghost of his ex-partner Jacob Marley, as well as three Christmas spirits who gradually convince him of the error of his ways. As a result, he awakens on Christmas morning transformed into a veritable champion of the season and all that it stands for.This 1951 version of A Christmas Carol (Scrooge) remains the best for an important reason: of all the versions made before or since, this is the only one that got it absolutely right.The story–as so many have misread it–is not about an evil tightwad who hates everything and is suddenly scared into being a saint by the spirits of Christmas. It is, instead, about a good man whose life has turned him in on himself–made him bitter and miserable–primarily through the death of his beloved sister, Fan. He is not, therefore, changed in the end, but rather, restored to himself, his innate good nature emerging renewed from its cocoon of self-imposed misery.Of course, the Spirits of Christmas must do the job for him since Scrooge can’t rely on his own sense of reason and fair play to save him from himself; his position is technically valid. The opening scenes demonstrate how everyone is expecting something from him in the name of Christmas, but not in the name of what’s fair: A debtor wants more time to pay–in the name of Christmas. A charity wishes him to donate money–in the name of Christmas, and Cratchit wants the day off , with pay–in the name of Christmas. As Scrooge points out, if he were to dock Cratchit’s pay half a crown for a day without work, Cratchit would feel ill-used, but it’s perfectly alright to ask for a day off–with pay–from Scrooge. That it is all done in the name of Christmas hardly counts as an argument, either, since Scrooge has lost sight of what Christmas is all about.That is Scrooge’s illness, and A Christmas Carol recounts this classic Dickens tale of the cure.Thanks to Alastair Sim’s wonderful performance, we can almost feel sorry for Scrooge. He suffers more from his miserly nature than anyone else. We are introduced to a reasonable man who simply wants to be left alone and we can empathize with him–in part at least. We see him, a man of great wealth, deny himself a piece of bread simply because it would cost an extra half-penny. Lit by a single candle and warmed by a meager fire, he sits alone and lonely on Christmas Eve in his large and empty house. Sim also adds a wonderfully droll sense of humor to his portrayal, thus making Scrooge more of a character than a villain, and therefore much more sympathetic from the outset.Come Christmas morning, we celebrate with Scrooge because we know him. In spite of ourselves, we liked him even before his rebirth, and now are delighted that he is finally happy. His acts of humility and generosity come from a familiar soul and we are touched by them.I first watched this film in 1955 on television, Christmas day. I have not missed a Christmas in the fifty-plus years since then and always find it wonderfully entertaining and inspirational. Aided by a wonderful cast and careful adherence to Dickens’ original dialogue and concept, it has deservedly become a Christmas classic. I can’t imagine that there is someone who hasn’t seen it, but if you haven’t, I certainly recommend it.

  • sig-ra-germano-palmieri
    sig ra germano palmieri

    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.

  • veniiamin-esipenko
    veniiamin esipenko

    The blatant plug first: If you haven’t seen this film, you have deprived yourself of one of the great performances of all time. Do not miss the opportunity, order it, buy it, or just plain rent it at once.When I was a boy my father introduced me to this version of Scrooge. I can remember how we had to all sit very quietly whilst he recorded the soundtrack from our TV using a mike onto his tape recorder. From there on in, every year at Christmas the tape would come out and we would listen to the soundtrack complete with the introduction music to the adverts. Eventually the tape became a cassette and then we had the video.Now I am the owner of this magical film on DVD and there has not been a year pass me by that I haven’t sat and watched the film at least once.The joy of watching this version has never left me, and as other commentators have remarked, Alastair Sim as Scrooge, seems to provide everything that you could want in the part. The transition from miser to benefactor is handled well, with Sim fighting the spirits all the way: “I’m too old to change”. The dizzy happiness of the final scenes in stark contrast to the character in the opening of the film.Everytime I see this film I find myself captivated by the way Sim manages to find an inner character to Scrooge, one that has not previously revealed itself. The young Scrooge played by George Cole, may not be the nasty money grabbing character whilst interacting with his sister, working for Fezziwig, or courting Alice, but he doesn’t have that intoxicated happiness, there is still something sour about him.Perhaps that is what truly makes this film. If the novel is about redemption and a rediscovery of humanity, then Alastair Sim finds it in abundance within his portrayal.I cannot reach the end credits without undergoing some form of renewal myself. The characterisation carries you with it. I have seen and heard this film at least 50 times and I still smile to myself whilst waiting for the words : “Cratchit! you’re late.” the attempt to keep up the old Scrooge breaking down very quickly.Perhaps some more people in the world could do with a revelation such as this Scrooge undergoes. Would it be so bad if we all felt at times that: “I don’t deserve to be so happy”.The other part I have always enjoyed is that of Kathleen Harrison as Mrs Dilber. Throughout she plays the put upon house keeper with great style. The comments she makes at Old Joe’s are telling in their rightness and her initial reaction to the transformed Scrooge is bewilderment and terror in equal measure.I am relieved to read that I am not alone in this world in being able to quote almost every line, and some of the these have become catch phrases in my family: “I always know” seems to be a favourite of my father :-)and a meal cannot pass without “ha’penny extra” being put forward if more bread is requested.So to finish – let the enthusiasm of the other contributors and myself encourage you to at least try this film. And now to get this in the post: “I’ll send it to Bob Cratchit. Label, label, label, label, must have a label.”