SCROOGE - DVD SCROOGE - DVD
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SCROOGE (DVD) CHRISTMAS SCROOGE, THE ULTIMATE VICTORIAN MISER, HASN'T A GOOD WORD FOR CHRISTMAS, THOUGH HIS IMPOVERISHED CLERK CRATCHIT AND NEPHEW FRED ARE FULL OF HOLIDAY SPIRIT. BUT IN THE NIGHT, SCROOGE IS VISITED BY SPIRITS OF ANOTHER COLOR. STRAIGHTFORWARD ADAPTATION OF DICKENS-CATIANS BLACK & WHITE VERSION ALSO SEYMOUR HICKS OSCAR ASCHE
This British production of Dickens's Christmas Carol has been eclipsed by subsequent versions, but it stands on its own as a darkly atmospheric (if sometimes regrettably brisk) telling of the beloved tale. Even with the rough quality of existing prints, this Scrooge has a visual intensity that approaches the bold compositions of German expressionism. And in its central role it has a mostly forgotten star: Sir Seymour Hicks, one of the era's celebrated English stage actors. With his gnarled face and flyaway hair, Hicks looks every inch the mean old misanthrope, and his cruelty has a realistic quality missing in some of the more stylized interpreters of the role. Hicks had played Scrooge many times on stage (and before in silent film), and he gets the tenor of every "Humbug!" just right. As a bandy-legged Bob Cratchit, Donald Calthorp is a perfect Victorian illustration come to grinning life. --Robert Horton --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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This print is very good, the best I have seen in a while, and includes scenes usually editted out that really add to the atmosphere of the movie. The sound is also excellent- most of the prints I have seen lately have the soundtrack going too fast, and this one is fine. There are a couple of dark spots, but considering the other prints out there, the majority of the print is excellent, and this DVD is a good print to have for years to come.
It is interesting to see the censorship laws at various times throughout our cinematic history in the choices made when producing "A Christmas Carol." The Patrick Stewart version is perhaps the best-filmed version but the heavy-handed script writing destroys the illusion of 19th Century England. Stewart's one-man stage play is a much better version by far.
Seymour Hicks is very good at being nasty but that's not what Scrooge is about. Scrooge is a guy who has had a tough life and he chose to value money above people to get through the day. Hicks can never seem to rise above the nastiness. He is never subtle like Finney or giddy like Sim, he's always just there.
For a completest, you should get this DVD; other folks should enjoy Albert Finney's musical version and Alistar Sim's B&W triumph.
Sir Seymour Hicks makes for a surly and unattractive incarnation of Mr. Scrooge, leading me to wonder just how convincing his eventual change of heart would be on the screen, but those final scenes play out wonderfully and erased any prior doubts I had up until that point as to the emotional power of the film. Heart-strings that have been pulled many times in the past were pulled yet again for this fan, making this a truly memorable version of Dickens' intimately familiar Christmas story.
You'll notice some definite peculiarities with this film. It's rather dark, for one thing - and not just in terms of the print; a few scenes seem to have soft touches of German expressionism woven into them. All of this is not surprising, given the date of production. I will admit that one scene, in which an unimportant character's head becomes momentarily transparent, borders on the weird, though. Don't expect a whole lot from Jacob Marley - upon his arrival, he announces that only Scrooge can see him. He isn't lying, as Marley's ghost is completely invisible here.Read more ›
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