Scrooge ★★★★

Originally, my plan was to write a blog piece about the various adaptations of A Christmas Carol in time for the 170th anniversary of the original story, but that didn't happen for various reasons. Still, I was keen to gorge on the screen versions in my library, so I marathon'd five of 'em.

The key knocks on Scrooge here are that too much of its narrative is perfunctory and truncated (Scrooge's estrangement from his family is excised entirely) and its dialog too melodramatic (see: the Scrooge/Elizabeth breakup). In fact, pretty much everything after Scrooge is confronted by the ghost of Jacob Marley feels rushed, even if there are some well played individual moments along the way.

However, there is one key element that is terrific, and that's Sir Seymour Hicks's cantankerous performance as the titular Scrooge. Hicks is disheveled, does not maintain eye contact with anyone, and at all times appears to want to be somewhere other than where he is. His transformation is less a matter of triumph and more a matter of a sort of acceptance of a hostile takeover of his disposition. It isn't the kind of fist-pumping payoff that other versions present, but the understated tone is more believable.

Donald Calthrop is similarly pitch perfect as the dispirited Bob Cratchit. Calthrop looks every bit the part; a man so used to getting by with little that the very idea of asking for more out of life went out of his mind long ago. Calthrop and Hicks have great chemistry...in a sadomasochistic kind of way.

Scrooge Re-Ranked on My Flickchart (#779/1607)

Scrooge > Eurotrip --> #779
Scrooge < Barbershop --> #779
Scrooge < Con Air --> #779
Scrooge > I'll Wait for the Next One --> #703
Scrooge > Destino --> #653
Scrooge < Duck Amuck --> #653
Scrooge < Hunger --> #653
Scrooge > Tango & Cash --> #646
Scrooge > Munich --> #643
Scrooge < Bee Movie --> #643

Scrooge was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #643/1607