One of the best film versions, and much better print than us
Scott MacGillivray | Massachusetts, USA | 11/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to the 2002 DVD release on the "Image" label (orange and green jacket) with film elements from "The Blackhawk Films Collection."
SCROOGE is the first sound version of Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol," filmed in England in 1935. I think this is one of the best screen adaptations of the story. Ebenezer Scrooge is played with Fieldsian grouchiness and ad-libbed asides by Sir Seymour Hicks, who had played the role on stage for decades, and he's terrific! (I suspect that Dickens scholar W. C. Fields caught some of Hicks's performances.) Donald Calthrop is the best Bob Cratchit I've ever seen; Robert Cochran is enjoyable as Scrooge's nephew Fred, and Philip Frost is cute as Tiny Tim. Director Henry Edwards deserves a round of applause for his careful handling of the story. The period detail is amazing, and the entire production is atmospheric and impressive. This version also goes a little deeper into story detail than most film versions (it's the only version I know in which Tiny Tim is shown in repose -- it's handled tastefully and sensitively by director and actors).
For many years, all you could find on video was the abridged, hour-long version prepared for the educational market in 1941. (This shorter version is well edited and continues to be a budget-price video perennial.) Happily, this new DVD release derives from the original 1935 release, distributed theatrically in America by Paramount. There are about 20 more minutes of footage in this new restoration, and the picture and sound are excellent, definitely superior to the usual video versions that vary in quality. For those who are more familiar with the Alastair Sim and George C. Scott interpretations, give Sir Seymour a try. He'll make himself quite at home.
If you're interested in the shorter version, it has been colorized. Amazon offers it here: Scrooge."
Scrooge is still Seymour Hicks
James R. Buck | Belleville, IL USA | 12/13/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Collectors of different interpretations of "A Christmas Carol" should beware. If you already own the Seymour Hicks version (available as Scrooge or as part of A Christmas Carol (Ultimate Collector's Edition)(B/W & Color)), you don't want this. It is the same film. Why Hicks' name is omitted in the cast listing at the top of this page, I don't know. The movie itself is not bad - I am rating it poorly because of the major omission in the cast listing."
Don't let the low price fool you -- a good DVD!
Sierra Donovan | Victorville, CA United States | 12/14/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are several versions of this on DVD. This review is for the Front Row DVD. I'm happy to say that despite the cheap price, the disc is quite acceptable. There ARE a lot of scratches on the print, but the picture is sharp (for it's age) and the sound is very clear. Best of all, the film is complete. This same title is available from Marengo Films as a double feature, but it's missing 17 minutes of footage. (See my review for details.)
As for the movie, it's not the best version of the story, but it's good and worthwhile for any Christmas Carol collection. It contains scenes on a ship and in a lighthouse that are taken from the book, but rarely filmed. It also has one scene that isn't in ANY other version -- Bob Cratchit mourning over the body of Tiny Tim, upstairs in their home. It's in the book, but a real surprise on film. On the other hand all but one of the ghosts is invisible. Oh well. Buy it anyway, and Merry Christmas!"
The first sound version of the story
James R. Buck | 12/03/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Although I've seen and treasured some of the other film versions of Charles Dicken's 'A CHRISTMAS CAROL', I still have some heart to this, the first sound version. It bolsters some fine performances by Donald Calthrop as Cratchit and Sir Seymour Hicks as Ebenezer Scrooge (Hicks had also played the role in a silent film, and at sixty-four, is probably the oldest of the many screen incarnations). The photography and production gives out a convincing Victorian atmosphere to the proceedings, and while I didn't like the idea of making Jacob Marley an invisible ghost, the cinematography does give some interesting touches to the visuals, like Scrooge's head superimposed on a large shadow of himself in the 'Christmas Yet to Come' sequences (For some reason, although Scrooge is dressed in pajamas when first visited, the ghostly journeys have him in his business clothes!). It's too bad that most of the video versions edit this film from its 78 minute length to an hour, removing several key scenes (Christmas Past continuing his presentation to Scrooge of how others celebrate Christmas, Tiny Tim saying 'God bless us, everyone!', etc.). Still, an interesting adaptation."
The first talkie Scrooge film!
Monty Moonlight | TX | 01/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Charles Dickens' immortal classic, "A Christmas Carol," is brought to life with sound for the first time in this wonderful 1935 British film starring Sir Seymour Hicks in the title role. Twickenham Film Studios' "Scrooge" is a straightforward interpretation of Dickens' famous Christmas tale about Ebenezer Scrooge, the coldhearted, miserly money-lender who detests Christmas as much as he detests his fellow man. All that changes one fateful Christmas Eve, when he is visited by the ghost of his old partner, Jacob Marley. The spirit warns Scrooge that if he does not change his ways, he faces an afterlife of torment and regret with not a soul to mourn his passing. Marley is soon followed by three more spirits in succession. The Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge the choices he made that led him on his lonely and bitter path, the Ghost of Christmas Present enlightens Scrooge to the joy he is missing by shunning and mistreating others, and the Ghost of Christmas Future finalizes Scrooge's lesson by showing him the bleak future he has created for himself. By dawn, Ebenezer Scrooge has been "scared straight," so to speak, and begins his new life of doing good deeds and making friends with others, particularly the nephew he has long rejected and the employee who has suffered his wrath on a daily basis. Donald Calthrop costars as the perfect Bob Cratchit, Scrooge's impoverished clerk, and it is his and Sir Hicks' performances that make this very early version of the tale a must own for the die-hard Christmas Carol fan.
Like all the film incarnations of "A Christmas Carol," this one has its strong and weak points. Very little is put into the presentation of the ghostly visitors. Jacob Marley's form is invisible to the viewer after his brief appearance as a doorknocker, and only the Ghost of Christmas Present is a solidly visible entity. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on how much special effects you require to enjoy a film and what constitutes a "ghost" in your own mind. It adds a live-theater quality to the film that you may or may not appreciate. This film chooses to put more emphasis on showcasing the very fine acting talent and atmospheric visuals of the rich and poor celebrating Christmas in their all too different ways. Perhaps no Christmas Carol film does a better job of showing the disturbing plight of the 19th century poor of London and the extremely opposite lifestyle of indulgence the wealthy enjoyed, a point so important to author Charles Dickens in his original work. The only downside in this particular version, to me, is the short time spent on the important issue of Scrooge's past. In this otherwise excellent film, the Ghost of Christmas Past's visit is far too short. Scrooge only witnesses one grim Christmas from his younger days, the one where his fiance, Belle, terminates their relationship after viewing one of Scrooge's heartless foreclosures on a young couple. The scene is a bit melodramatic, and both Scrooge and Belle look a bit too old, but the real problem is that this was the first and only flashback we, and Scrooge, received. Ideally, we would have seen Scrooge growing up and an earlier encounter with Belle to allow us to invest in the characters and see Scrooge's pre-miserly self. However, while it's a tragic aspect to lose, it is not a good enough reason to pass up this fine holiday film! The movie is, of course, in black and white, 78 minutes long, and the Front Row Features disc, which makes the mistake of featuring an image from the 1951 Allastair Sim Scrooge on the back of the case, includes filmographies for both Sir Seymour Hicks and Donald Calthrop. For less than 3 bucks at most retailers when you can find it, this is a DVD the Christmas, Scrooge, or Dickens lover can't afford to pass up! "