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In this original film adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Sir Seymour Hicks gives a riveting performance as Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is a mean old miser who wants nothing to do with Christmas, harshly rejection the company and well wishes of his fellow man. But on this Christmas Eve, Scrooge's former partner Jacob Marley, an invisible but forceful ghostly presence, visits Scrooge to warn him that his time is running short. Throughout the long, cold night, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future appear to Scrooge, taking him on a journey into the very spirit and magic of the Christmas holiday.
Venice Film Festival, Henry Edwards, Special Recommendation
Foster on Film
Yes, 1935 was a long time ago and many film techniques were not yet invented, but that is no excuse for dull acting and non-existent camera work. Nor does saying "it was the depression," make up for poor execution. Those are explanations for this film's failure, but noting them doesn't make it any less of a failure. I might be able to ignore the invisible ghosts (Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come are not seen, and the Ghost of Christmas Past is just a blur) but the static camera work stays with me. Cameras need to move. Not a lot necessarily, but some. In Scrooge, the cameraman must have stepped out for a quick sandwich while filming. Seymour Hicks plays Scrooge as if he he's reading the lines for the first time (surprising for a man who had performed the part on stage for years). The rest of the cast are forgettable (well, Christmas Present isn't, but it's a performance I'd prefer to forget). As Dickens wrote a good story, I'd be forced to recommend this film if no others existed, but many others exist.
Matthew M. Foster
DVD, No Longer Produced
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