Home > 1950 - 1959 > A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol / Scrooge

Christmas Carol title card animated GIF

Year - 1951
Studio - George Minter Productions, Renown Pictures Corporation
Stars - Alastair Sim, Kathleen Harrison, Mervyn Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Michael Hordern, George Cole, Francis De Wolff, Ernest Thesiger, Michael Dolan
Director - Brian Desmond Hurst
Writing Credits - Charles Dickens, Noel Langley (adaptation)
Music - Richard Addinsell

Synopsis

On Christmas Eve Day, Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim), a jaded, miserly and mean-spirited businessman responds to Christmas greetings from others with contempt, "Bah Humbug." When he is solicited for a donation to help the poor enjoy Christmas, he responds, "Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses?" He refuses to allow his meek employee, Bob Cratchit (Mervyn Johns) to leave early to be with his family. After eating alone at a restaurant, Scrooge goes home and to bed.

But he is awakened by the sound of rattling chains, and the ghost of his late business partner, Jacob Marley (Michael Hordern) appears. The ghost warns Scrooge not to continue in his bitter and selfish ways, or he spend eternity like himself, a soul in torment. Marley tells Scrooge that he will be visited that night by three more ghosts.

The first arrives, the ghost of Christmas Past. He shows Scrooge scenes from his life and his close relationship to his sister Fan (Carol Marsh). He sees his early bookkeeping apprenticeship to Mr. Fezziwig (Roddy Hughes) where he is introduced to his future business partner, Jacob Marley. He is shown his marriage proposal to Alice (Rona Anderson), and the sad death of his sister, in childbirth, when she whispered to him, "Take care of my boy". He and Marley had later left Fezziwig to work for a devious business owner, Mr. Snedrig (Eliot Makeham). Scrooge and Marley become the owners of the firm when Snedrig is found to be an embezzler. His wife, Alice, leaves him when she realizes that money is more important to him than love for her. When Scrooge is told that Marley is at home, dying, he refuses to leave until the close of business. Before dying, Marley whispers to Scrooge, "There is still time. Save yourself!"

A Christmas Carol poster

The Ghost of Christmas Present appears, and shows Scrooge the Cratchit family celebrating Christmas at their home. The severely disabled but cheerful son, Tiny Tim (Glyn Dearman), toasts "God Bless us each and every one" and the ghost warns Scrooge that "if these shadows remain unaltered" the boy will soon die. Bob Cratchit proposes a toast to his employer, and the family reluctantly participates. Scrooge is shown a happy party in the home of his nephew, Fred (the son of his beloved sister, Alice) where the guests joke and laugh about Fred's curmudgeonly uncle.

Scrooge is then visited by the shrouded Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come who silently shows the Cratchit home with a sobbing Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim's crutches alone in the corner. He witnesses a scene of an undertaker and two women selling the meager belongings of someone recently deceased to a seedy merchant, not comprehending the significance. Finally, the ghost takes him to a remote graveyard where he is horrified to see his name on a run-down and neglected tombstone.

Scrooge awakens and exclaims, wildly, "I do repent! I am not the man I was!" and gives his shocked maid a coin for Christmas. He has a butcher deliver a large Christmas goose to the Cratchit family. Finally, he goes to Fred's home, and asks the surprised nephew if he can, after all, accept their Christmas dinner invitation, and happily joins in the party dancing. The next day, Scrooge pretends to be angry when Cratchit arrives a bit late, and announces that his "punishment" will be a large raise in wages. He enthusiastically tells Bob that he wants to become involved with his family's welfare, and especially with getting Tim the medical treatment he needs.


Dickens' A Christmas Carol has been filmed many times, with this version, released as Scrooge in the UK, often being cited as the best. Some of the more notable adaptations are:

  • A Christmas Carol (1938), starring Reginald Owen as Scrooge and Gene Lockhart and Kathleen Lockhart as the Cratchits.
  • Scrooge (1970), a musical film adaptation starring Albert Finney as Scrooge and Alec Guinness as Marley's Ghost
  • A Christmas Carol (1984), featuring George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge, David Warner as Bob Cratchit, and Susannah York as Mrs. Cratchit.
  • Scrooged (1988), starring Bill Murray as a selfish, cynical T.V. executive haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), featuring the various Muppet characters, with Michael Caine as Scrooge, Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, and Miss Piggy as Mrs. Cratchit.
  • A Christmas Carol (1999), featuring Patrick Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge, and Richard E. Grant as Bob Cratchit.
  • Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001), an animated version produced by Illuminated Films (Christmas Carol), Ltd/The Film Consortium/MBP; screenplay by Robert Llewellyn & Piet Kroon; with the voices of Simon Callow, Kate Winslet, and Nicolas Cage.
  • A Christmas Carol (2005), a musical film, featuring Kelsey Grammer as Ebenezer Scrooge, Jason Alexander as Jacob Marley, and Jane Krakowski as the Ghost of Christmas Past.
  • A Christmas Carol (2009), a performance capture film written for the screen, directed by Robert Zemeckis, and starring Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge and the three ghosts, released in a 3D version as well.
  • Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009) starring Matthew McConaughey, a comedic pastiche of the Dickens story.