Scrooge (1951)

UK, 1951
74m (Germany), 86m (UK, USA), 7758 feet, 2365 metres
35mm film, black and white (computer colourized version also available), 1.37:1
mono, English

A British fantasy film directed by Brian Desmond-Hurst.

Plot Summary

Miserly London businessman Ebenezer Scrooge is visited on Christmas Eve by the ghost of his dead business partner Marley, who warns him that three more ghosts 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?

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Brian Desmond-Hurst
Copyright MCMLI [1951] Renown Pictures Corporation Ltd
Renown Pictures Corporation Ltd. George Minter presents
Produced by: Brian Desmond-Hurst
Associate Producer: Stanley Haynes [uncredited]
Production Manager: Stanley Couzins
Adaptation and Screenplay by: Noel Langley
Adapted from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
First Assistant [Director]: Denis O’Dell
2nd Assistant Director: Tony Harris [uncredited]
3rd Assistant Director: Buddy Booth [uncredited]
Continuity: Margaret Ryan [uncredited]
Director of Photography: C. Pennington-Richards
Camera Operator: C. Cooney [real name: Cecil R. Cooney]
Focus Puller: Gerry Turpin [uncredited]
Clapper Loader: Tom Friswell [uncredited]
Stills: Richard Cantouris [uncredited]
Film Editor: Clive Donner
Assistant Editors: Anne Barker, Charlie Squires, Stanley Hawkes, Michael Johns [all uncredited]
Musical Score by: Richard Addinsell
Conducted by: Muir Mathieson
Sound Recordist: W.H. Lindop
Sound Camera Operator: Charles Earl [uncredited]
Boom Operator: Fred Ryan [uncredited]
Dubbing Editor: Leonard Trumm [uncredited]
Westrex Electric Recording
Costume Designer: Doris Lee
Costumes for Mr. Sim, Mr. Hordern and Miss Edwardes: Constance Da Finna
Assistant Costume Designer: Phyllis Dalton [uncredited]
Wardrobe Master: W. Walsh [uncredited]
Make-up Artist: Eric Carter
Assistant Make-up: Aldo Manganaro [uncredited]
Hair Stylist: Betty Lee
Assistant Hair Stylist: June Robinson [uncredited]
Art Director: Ralph Brinton
Set Dresser: Freda Pearson [uncredited]
Property Buyer: Chris Chapman [uncredited]
Draughtsmen: T. Hopewell Ash, Edward Marshall [both uncredited]
Sketch Artist: Patricia Neville [uncredited]
Construction Manager: Wallis Smith [uncredited]
Accountant: Larry Edmonds [uncredited]
Production Secretary: Doris Prince [uncredited]
Mechanical Victorian Dolls Loaned by: Mr. M. Steiner
Mechanical Toys Loaned by: Bracher and Partner
Floor Runner: Jan Saunders [uncredited]
Publicity Director: Hugh Findlay [uncredited]
Produced and recorded at Nettlefold Studios, Walton-on-Thames
Casting Director: Maude Spector

Cast
Alastair Sim as [Ebenezer] Scrooge
Kathleen Harrison (Mrs Dilber)
Mervyn Johns (Bob Cratchit)
Hermione Baddeley (Mrs Cratchit)
Michael Hordern (Jacob Marley/Marley’s ghost)
George Cole (young Ebenezer Scrooge)
John Charlesworth (Peter Cratchit)
Francis de Wolff (Spirit of Christmas Present)
Rona Anderson (Alice)
Carol Marsh (Fran Scrooge)
Brian Worth (Fred)
Miles Malleson (Old Joe)
Ernest Thesiger (Mr Stretch)
Glyn Dearman (Tim Cratchit)
Michael Dolan (Spirit of Christmas Past)
Olga Edwardes (Fred’s wife)
Roddy Hughes (Mr S. Fezziwig)
Hattie Jacques (Mrs Fezziwig)
Eleanor Summerfield (Miss Flora)
Louise Hampton (laundress)
C. Konarski (Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come)
Eliot Makeham (Mr Snedrig)
Peter Bull (1st businessman/narrator)
Douglas Muir (2nd businessman)
Noel Howlett (1st collector)
Fred Johnson (2nd collector)
Henry Hewitt (Mr Rosehed)
Hugh Dempster (Mr Groper)
David Hannaford
Maire O’Neill (Alice’s patient)
Richard Pearson (Mr Tupper)
Patrick Macnee (young Jacob Marley)
Clifford Madison (Samuel Wilkins)
Jack Warner [Mr Jorkin] (by permission of the J. Arthur Rank Organisation)

Alternative Titles

Andarnas natt – Swedish title
Cancion de navidad – Mexican title
Charles Dickens – Eine Weihnachtsgeschichte – West German title
A Christmas Carol – US title
Conto de Natal – Brazilian title
Cuento de Navidad de Dickens – Spanish title
O Homem e o Espectro – Portugese title
Saiturin joulu – Finnish title
Lo schiavo dell’oro – Italian title

Extracts included in
The Great Christmas Movies (1998)
Play for Today: Another Flip for Dominick (1982)
Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (1989)

Press

1999
Empire no.126 (December 1999) p.39
Brian Desmond Hurst’s faithful adaptation is festive fare par excellence, and by far the best version committed to celluloid. […] Check your cynicism in at the door and you’ll find a supporting cast of well-loved characters, including Bob Cratchit (an excellent Mervyn Johns) and Tiny Tim, and with a smattering of carols all adding to the atmosphere of good cheer. The success of this interpretation, however, largely rests on the shoulders (and in the wonderfully doleful eyes) of Alastair Sim, whose wry performance gives us a fully three-dimensional Scrooge: a miserly yet pitiful character who extends beyond the normal caricature. […] Heart-warming in the extreme, this is extremely enjoyable; you’ll come out humming Silent Night and that, surely, is what festive fodder is all about. – from an illustrated review by Monika Maurer

References

Periodicals

  • The Cinema Studio vol.6 no.124 (August 1951) pp.9-14 – illustrated article
  • Classic Television no.5 (June/July 1998) pp.10-25 – illustrated article (British Film: The Classic Television Top 100)
  • Empire no.126 (December 1999) p.39 – illustrated review (New films by Monika Maurer)
  • Film Review December 1999 p.36 – illustrated review (by Anwar Brett)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.18 no.214 (November 1951) p.359 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Motion Picture Herald vol.185 no.5 (3 November 1951) – review
  • Movie Maker vol.14 no.1 (January 1980) p.23 – article
  • Today’s Cinema vol.77 no.6360 (17 October 1951) p.13 – review
  • Today’s Cinema vol.85 no.7358 (22 September 1955) p.8 – review
  • Variety 14 November 1951 – review

Books

  • British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928-1959 by David Quinlan pp.369-370 – credits, synopsis
  • A Christmas Carol and Its Adaptations: A Critical Examination of Dickens’s Story and Its Productions on Screen and Television by Fred Guida p.172 – credits
  • The Encyclopedia of Novels Into Films second edition by John C. Tibbetts and James M. Welsh pp.54-56 – illustrated credits, review (by F.T. [Frank Thompson])
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.65 – credits

Other sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide December 2016 p.37 – illustrated listing
  • BFI Southbank Guide December 2019 p.42 – illustrated listing
  • BFI Southbank Guide December 2020 p.22 – illustrated listing
  • BFI Southbank Guide December 2022 p.41 – illustrated listing