This movie will always be my favorite version of Dickens’ story of redemption at Christmastime.
Everybody know the story but here goes anyway. Ebenezer Scrooge (Alistair Sim) is a hard-hearted old miser who thinks Christmas is a humbug. He can barely stand to let his beleaguered clerk Bob Cratchit have a single day off for the holiday. He believes neither in charity nor in celebration.
One Christmas Eve a miracle happens. Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his equally miserly deceased business partner Jacob Marley. Marley’s spirit has been condemned to wander the earth carrying a heavy chain built up of his own greed because he did not live as part of humanity while he was alive. The ghost cautions Scrooge that he will suffer the same, or worse, fate if he does not mend his ways.
Marley says he will send three spirits of Christmas to help in Scrooge’s reformation and disappears. Scrooge is then visited by the Spirit of Christmas Past, who shows him how he got to be the miserable creature he is, the Spirit of Christmas Present, who shows him how the rest of the world is celebrating Christmas in their hearts, and the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come, who shows him the bleak future that awaits him if nothing changes. Scrooge awakens with Christmas in his heart. With Hermione Baddeley as Mrs. Cratchit, Ernest Thesinger as an undertaker, and Patrick Macnee as the young Jacob Marley.
It was such a treat to catch back up with this one! Sim is a phenomenal Scrooge. There is enough of humanity in him even at his worst that you totally believe in his redemption. I remember being really scared by some of the scenes as a child. The worst was the one where the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come points at Scrooge’s grave. It’s still effective film making and even a bit scary now I have grown. This version also features some really nice traditional music and special effects. Highly recommended.