Scrooge Review

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The miserly Scrooge refuses to help the poor at this festive time of year, and is visited by the ghosts of Christmasses past, present and future who will help him mend his ways.


Since its publication in 1843, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has been adapted nine times for the big screen, running the casting gamut from Reginald Owen to Bill Murray to Kermit The Frog.

Brian Desmond Hurst's faithful adaptation is festive fare par excellence, and by far the best version committed to celluloid.

Superbly shot in chiaroscuro for full ghoulish effect, it tells the tale of the miserly Scrooge's transformation after visitations from the Spirits of Christmasses Past, Present and Yet To Come.

Check your cynicism in at the door and you'll find a supporting cast of well-loved characters, including Bob Cratchit (an excellent Mervyn Johns) and Tiny Tim, and with a smattering of carols all adding to the atmosphere of good cheer.

The success of this interpretation, however, largely rests on the shoulders (and in the wonderfully doleful eyes) of Alastair Sim, whose wry performance gives us a fully three-dimensional Scrooge: a miserly yet pitiful character who extends beyond the normal caricature.

When told that, 'At this time of year, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute', Sim's ironic delivery of, 'Why?' manages to invest humour into the most simple of one-liners, and sums up all that is great about his performance.

While some of the other performances have dated, Sim's haunted Scrooge stands the test of time, even today eliciting sympathy and - you just can't help yourself - joy at his transformation.

Heart-warming in the extreme, this is extremely enjoyable; you'll come out humming Silent Night and that, surely, is what festive fodder is all about.

Lashings of festive cheer and a fair dollop of fine performances will leave you in the mood for mince pies and a renewed sense of seasonal goodwill to all men.