Article 2655 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-18-2008
Posting Date: 11-19-2008
Directed by Ronald Neame
Featuring Albert Finney, Edith Evans, Kenneth More
On Christmas Eve, miser Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former partner Jacob Marley, who sends him three ghosts who will attempt to get him to change his curmudgeonly ways.
That Dickens’s Christmas classic would be converted into a musical is no real surprise, especially after the success of OLIVER. But in its own way, the original story is just fine the way it is, and it simply doesn’t need the spectacle-heavy retooling it’s been given here. It’s far from a bad movie, though; the songs are decent, the performances are solid, and there are some great moments here (I particularly like the moments where Marley, played by the excellent Alec Guinness, shows Scrooge that he can sit down and when he takes Scrooge through the heavens to see the ghosts of the damned). But I miss the simpler and more compelling charms of the story that have been set aside to make way for the songs and dances which often tend to distract rather than enhance. I must admit I’m quite spoiled by the 1951 version; though Albert Finney does well in the title role, his performance is nowhere near as revelatory as Alistair Sim’s was. The movie also adds a scene where Scrooge goes to Hell to see his fate in the afterlife and the length of his chain, a sequence which unforunately veers the movie way too close to camp for my liking. Yes, it’s pretty to look at, but ultimately, I care about the characters and their fates far less here than I did in some of the other versions of the tale.