A Christmas Carol (1938)

69m, 7 reels
35mm, black and white (also computer colourized version), 1.37:1
mono, English

An American fantasy film directed by Edwin L. Marin.

Plot Summary

Miserly London businessman Ebenezer is visited on Eve by the ghost of his dead business partner Marley, who warns him that three more will appear during the night trying to show Scrooge the error of his ways. As the night wears on, he's visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. But will even they be enough to soften old Scrooge's heart?


* = uncredited

Directed by: Edwin L. Marin
Copyright MCMXXXVIII [1938] by Loew's Incorporated
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents. Produced by Loew's Incorporated
Produced by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Screen Play by: Hugo Butler
Novel: by Charles Dickens [credited with name above the title]
Photographed by: Sidney Wagner
Film Editor: George Boemler
Musical Score by: Franz Waxman; David Snell *
Recording Director: Douglas Shearer
Costumes by: Valles
Character Make-up Created by: Jack Dawn
Art Director: Cedric Gibbons

Reginald Owen (Ebenezer Scrooge)
Gene Lockhart (Bob Cratchit)
Kathleen Lockhart (Mrs Cratchit)
Terry Kilburn (Tiny Tim Cratchit)
Barry Mackay (Fred)
Lynne Carver (Bess)
Leo G. Carroll (Marley's ghost)
Lionel Braham (Spirit of Christmas Present)
Ann Rutherford (Spirit of Christmas Past)
D'Arcy Corrigan (Spirit of Christmas Future)
Ronald Sinclair (young Ebenezer Scrooge)

Alternative Titles

Cântico de Natal – Portugese title
Cuento de Navidad – Venezuelan title
Saiturin uni – Finnish title

Extracts included in
The Great Christmas Movies (1998)
Play For Today: Another Flip for Dominick (1982)


An uncredited reviewer in New Statesman 1New Statesman 3 December 1938 had special praise for the direction: “Mr. Edwin Marin's direction has not spoiled this perfect scenario; his evocation of atmosphere is certainly more efficient than imaginative, but at least the essential ingredients are all there: the murky, narrow, gas-lit streets, the cosy indoor jollifications over goose and plum pudding, the snowy, blowy, unmistakably “period” weather outside.” They had “two small grumbles: The Spirit of Christmas Past was turned into a Hollywood cutie, and the young lovers were allowed to behave in church in a way which would have shocked their creator.”


Catholic Film News vol.1 no.3 (January 1939) p.11 – review
Motion Picture Herald vol.133 no.8 (19 November 1938) – review
New Statesman 3 December 1938 – review

A Christmas Carol and Its Adaptations: A Critical Examination of Dickens's Story and Its Productions on Screen and Television by Fred Guida pp.174-175 – credits
by Walt Lee p.65 – credits
Sound Films, 1927-1939: A United States Filmography Volume 1 by Alan G. Fetrow p.104 – credits, review