Stubbornly refusing to believe in Christmas, and to be separated from his inexhaustible wealth, the Victorian money lender and parsimonious recluse, Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim), can’t be bothered with the poor and destitute at the most festive time of the year. Intent on spending the holy night alone, instead, the sceptical curmudgeon is visited by an unexpected and sympathetic friend, Jacob Marley (Sir Michael Hordern), who will pave the way for the inevitable visitation of the otherworldly spirits of Christmas Past (Michael Dolan), Present (Francis De Wolff), and Yet to Come (Czeslaw Konarski). But, what do the pale ghosts want? Can a wicked old miser admit the error in his ways, and embrace change? In the end, is Scrooge ready to love and be loved?
User Reviews: Many adaptations of Dickens’ Christmas book have been and gone, but this is generally thought to be one of the definitive films of the story.
Brian Desmond Hurst directs a fine cast, headed by the incomparable Alastair Sim (a man who can play both malevolent and humorous) as the about-to-be-redeemed Ebenezer Scrooge. Sim’s reactions are priceless and he settles down well in the role. Michael Hordern is a less successful Marley, certainly when he visits as a ghost, but the three Ghosts of Christmas are just as you imagine – Christmas Past is a wise old sage, Christmas Present is a jovial party-giver …
Strengths of this production include the opening out of events of the past into a linear narrative (George Cole plays young Scrooge for the early segments), and the playing of Mervyn Johns and Hermoine Baddeley as the Cratchits. It is a film which has holly, plum pudding, and carol singers written all over it, from the use of Christmas tunes in the music track, to the roaring fires and snow-strewn streets in which everyone makes merry for the festive day.