Friday, December 19, 2008

Movie review: Scrooge (1970)

A musical version of A Christmas Carol that waves back and forth between faithful following and complete departure. Albert Finney is Ebenezer Scrooge, the miser who becomes generous.

Finney is effectively harsh and skinflinty, although the interpretation is of a Scrooge who thinks of himself as a good guy, which is not where Dickens took the character.

Most of the music is a lot of fun, and the reprises turn the original tunes on their heads. What starts out to be mocking becomes genuine at the end of the movie.

I didn't care for the interpretation of the Ghost of Christmas Past as an elderly woman, although Edith Evans does a fine job with a touch of wit. David Collings made a very fine Bob Cratchit, and the little Cratchits, including Tiny Tim, were appropriately adorable.

One surprise was a rather swishy Sir Alec Guinness as Marley's Ghost. Meant to imply weightlessness, it comes off sometimes as just strange ballet moves.

Scrooge spends some time in Hell, for some strange reason that is comletely apart from the book and seems to have been added in as either filler or comedic relief. It's a completely unnecessary sequence that should have been left out.

All things considered, it's not a bad movie. In fact it's quite enjoyable. It just takes a lot of liberties with a story that was perfectly wonderful to begin with.

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