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A Christmas Carol (1938)

Not Rated | | Drama, Family, Fantasy | 16 December 1938 (USA)
On Christmas Eve, an old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the spirit of his former partner, Jacob Marley. The deceased partner was in his lifetime as mean and miserly as Scrooge ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Kathleen Lockhart ...
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Barry MacKay ...
Fred (as Barry Mackay)
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Lionel Braham ...
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D'Arcy Corrigan ...
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Storyline

On Christmas Eve, an old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the spirit of his former partner, Jacob Marley. The deceased partner was in his lifetime as mean and miserly as Scrooge is now and he warns him to change his ways or face the consequences in the afterlife. Scrooge dismisses the apparition but the first of the three ghosts, the Ghost of Christmas Past, visits as promised. Scrooge sees those events in his past life, both happy and sad, that forged his character. The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, shows him how many currently celebrate Christmas. The Ghost of Christmas yet to Come shows him how he will be remembered once he is gone. To his delight, the spirits complete their visits in one night giving him the opportunity to mend his ways. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Greater than "David Copperfield" !

Genres:

Drama | Family | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

16 December 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Scrooge is an archaic English verb meaning "to squeeze." See more »

Goofs

When Scrooge is eating in the tavern on Christmas Eve, he is reading a book with the spine label "Bankers Book". Charles Dickens' depiction of this book is that it is Scrooge's property, possibly a ledger. Yet in the film, Scrooge stands, pays the innkeeper for the meal, and leaves - leaving the book behind him on the table. See more »

Quotes

[Scrooge has come in after being visited by the ghosts]
Ebenezer Scrooge: Fred! My dear nephew! How are you?
Fred: Well who is this?
Ebenezer Scrooge: It's me! Your uncle Scrooge! Smile makes a difference, doesn't it?
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Connections

Version of A Christmas Carol (1914) See more »

Soundtracks

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
(1856) (uncredited)
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1840)
Lyrics by Charles Wesley (1730)
Arranged by David Snell
Sung by an offscreen chorus during opening credits
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the Great Christmas Movie of All-Time!
6 August 1999 | by (Cherry Hill, New Jersey) – See all my reviews

More that sixty years after it was made, MGM's 1938 version of "A Christmas Carol" still ranks as one of the best adaptations of the Dickens classic ever.

First, there's that terrific cast. Lionel Barrymore was to have played Ebeneezer Scrooge, when the accident that confined him to a wheelchair prevented it. Reginald Owen, whose career in US films alone spanned more than 40 years, was given the part, and, if not as vivid a Scrooge as Alistair Sim, he is more than up to the task. Terry Kilburn (The little boy who said "Goodbye, Mr. Chips!" the following year) goes perhaps a bit overboard with the cute stuff as Tiny Tim, but at least he tries. Gene and Kathleen Lockhart (And daughter June, making her film debut at 12) make as good a pair of Cratchits as you will ever see, with Gene Lockhart underplaying more than was usually his wont. Barry McKay and Lynne Carver (The latter perhaps best remembered as "Dr. Kildare's" girlfriend during the '40's) add just the right spirit as Scrooge's nephew, Fred, and his fiancee, respectively. And, speaking of spirits, there's Leo G. Carroll as probably the out-and-out spookiest Marley's Ghost there ever was, and Ann Rutherford (That's Polly Benedict to you "Andy Hardy" fans!) as probably the loveliest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Atmospherically, the movie is as comfortable and heartwarming as an old Christmas card. As a director, Edwin L. Marin was, frankly, a hack, and, as such, usually handed a lot of forgettable "B" properties at MGM. With "Christmas Carol," though, he redeems himself. One wonders, though, if executive producer Joseph L. Manckiewicz wasn't responsible for at least some of the directing chores, as well. Hugo Butler's screenplay captures the feel of it all perfectly, and Franz Waxman's score is one of his best.

A rare treat all around. Don't miss it. But do not, under any circumstances, see the colorized version. The black-and-white play of light and shadow in this film is essential to its' atmosphere.

Incidentally, there's a substantial article, including an interview with June Lockhart, on this film in the book "AMC Presents the Great Christmas Movies."


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