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A Christmas Carol (1951)
"Scrooge" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Fantasy  |  2 December 1951 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 13,783 users  
Reviews: 201 user | 56 critic

An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.

Director:

(as Brian Desmond-Hurst)

Writers:

(adapted from "A Christmas Carol"), (adaptation)
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Title: A Christmas Carol (1951)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Kathleen Harrison ...
Mervyn Johns ...
...
...
George Cole ...
John Charlesworth ...
Francis De Wolff ...
Spirit of Christmas Present (as Francis de Wolff)
Rona Anderson ...
Carol Marsh ...
Brian Worth ...
Miles Malleson ...
...
Glyn Dearman ...
Michael Dolan ...
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Storyline

Stingy businessman Ebenezer Scrooge is known as the meanest miser in Victorian London. He overworks and underpays his humble clerk, Bob Cratchit, whose little son, Tiny Tim, is crippled and may soon die. He also has nothing to do with his nephew, Fred, because his birth cost the life of his beloved sister. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge has a haunting nightmare from being visited by the ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley. He is visited by three ghosts and is given one last chance to change his ways and save himself from the grim fate that befell Marley. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One of the world's most loved character actors, Alastair Sim, in a masterful portrayal of one of the world's best loved characters, Scrooge! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 December 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Christmas Carol  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although this film is widely regarded as the best film version of Charles Dickens' story, it is the only one which omits Scrooge's famous line: "If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart". Alastair Sim would eventually get a chance to say it however, when he reprised his role in the animated A Christmas Carol (1971) which also featured Michael Hordern returning as Marley. See more »

Goofs

Mr. Jorkin quotes the line "Curfew shall not ring tonight" as if it is a well-known phrase. Although Rose Hartwick Thorpe wrote the poem "Curfew must not ring tonight" in 1867, the line (a misquote of the title) did not become popular until around 1900. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Dilber: [Scrooge raises her pay from 2 shillings a week to 16] Do you want to see a doctor?
Ebenezer: A doctor? Certainly not, nor the undertaker!
See more »

Connections

Version of The Jetsons: A Jetson Christmas Carol (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
(pub. 1856) (uncredited)
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1840)
Lyrics by Charles Wesley (1730)
Sung by offscreen chorus during opening credits
Reprised by a family in a Spirit of Christmas Present sequence
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Not a perfect film but still the most enduring version.
30 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film is one I will watch year after year and surpasses the other versions I've seen in so many ways ... even if Noel Langley's screenplay liberties with Dickens' novel led to an inescapable character error.

In Langley's screenplay, we're led to believe that Scrooge's father blames him for his wife's death during childbirth ... which later leads Scrooge to blame his nephew for the death of his younger sister (Fan) under the same circumstances. The flaw? The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge back to his boarding school. Fan comes to take Scrooge home, saying that their father has repented and become kinder. Scrooge remarks how much Fan looks like their mother ... and Fan replies, saying it might be the reason why he's become kinder. But, if Fan was Scrooge's younger sister and if their mother died during Scrooge's childbirth, Fan couldn't exist ... because their mother was already dead and buried by the time she would have been born.

In Dickens' novel, the death of Scrooge's mother is only implied. And Fan's death is only mentioned as happening when she was an adult. Death during childbirth was not associated with either the mother or Fan ... implying that the "distancing" between Scrooge's father and Scrooge, as well as between Scrooge and Fred, was merely because both had become miserly and unfeeling men of business. And in the novel, Dickens referred to Fan as being, quote, "much younger than the boy" (referring to Ebenezer). If Langley referred to Fan as being "older" than Ebenezer, it could have been seen as merely a screenplay writer taking "license" to revise the novel. But Langley didn't make such a reference ... which probably left Dickens readers scratching their heads.

That error aside, the film was completely enjoyable and will certainly be enjoyed by future generations as much as my generation has enjoyed it.

P.S. Trivial tidbit. While death during childbirth was common in Dickens time, it wasn't as common as death by consumption (today called tuberculosis). Dickens own younger sister died from the disease ... and her name was Fan.


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