Thursday, January 03, 2013

Alastair Sim's Scrooge

The Alastair Sim interpretation of Scrooge in the 1951 A Christmas Carol is striking. Not one of the most faithful adaptations, Scrooge is nevertheless a wonderful performance. He shows a growing coldness and heartlessness as his personal business prospers, but his conversion is filled with a joy that's contagious. This version is a must-see. Kathleen Harrison plays Mrs. Dilber. Michael Hordern is Marley. Ernest Thesiger plays the undertaker.

We have a couple of quibbles with this one -mainly the big, healthy-looking Tim with full rosy cheeks, whose only claim to frailty is to use a crutch while holding one foot up behind him and hopping along on the other. To call him "Tiny" Tim is laughable, as he's almost as big as his parents.

Here's Scrooge post-conversion:

"I don't deserve to be so happy. I can't help it! I just can't help it!"

Slate Magazine calls it "the best Christmas movie ever made" and "the king of holiday films" and says, "I double-dog dare you to watch this one and not have it shoot to the top of your list of all-time favorite movies, Christmas-related or otherwise". DVD Talk says, "this film absolutely deserves its labeling as a classic" and praises Sim as "the best Scrooge I've ever had the pleasure of seeing". The New York Times closes its review this way:
In short, what we have in this rendition of Dickens' sometimes misunderstood "Carol" is an accurate comprehension of the agony of a shabby soul. And this is presented not only in the tortured aspects of Mr. Sim but in the phantasmagoric creation of a somber and chilly atmosphere. These, set against the exhibition of conventional manifests of love and cheer, do right by the moral of Dickens and round a trenchant and inspiring Christmas show.
Foster on Film declares:
This British, B&W version of the well-known story is generally considered to be the finest version by critics and viewers alike, and I agree.
Rotten Tomatoes gives it 85%.


  1. Anonymous6:16 AM

    That's so banjo!
    -- A Pal

    1. it's good to see you're keeping up with the latest trends ;)