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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Scrooge can be found here.
Rich London businessman Ebenezer Scrooge (Albert Finney), known for his miserliness, particularly hates Christmas. On Christmas eve, Scrooge is visited by his deceased business partner Jacob Marley (Alec Guinness), who warns Scrooge that, if he does not change his greedy ways, he will end up like Marley...wearing the chains he has accumulated during his life. Thereafter, Scrooge is visited by three more spirits the Ghost of Christmas Past (Edith Evans), the Ghost of Christmas Present (Kenneth More), and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Paddy Stone). Each of them show Scrooge a segment of his life and introduce him to the spirit of Christmas as displayed by his nephew Fred (Michael Medwin) and the family of his clerk Bob Cratchit (David Collings) and Cratchit's crippled son, Tiny Tim (Richard Beaumont).
Scrooge is based on A Christmas Carol (full title: A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas), an 1843 novella by English writer Charles Dickens [1812-1870]. The novella was adapted for the movie by British composer Leslie Bricusse, who also composed the music.
Dickens himself doesn't specify what disease Tiny Tim has. He speaks only of him using a crutch and being expected to die within a year if untreated. Considering that the story is fiction, Dickens might have meant only to portray Tiny Tim as sickly and in need of medical attention, which Cratchit could not afford on his salary. However, viewers have suggested several possibilities. Most commonly mentioned is polio because of the crutch. Tuberculosis was also a very common disease at the time, typically respiratory in adults but it could appear in children as a crippling illness also causing fatigue and weight loss. A third possibility sometimes mentioned is rickets, a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency. Symptoms include soft bones, muscular weakness, osteoporosis, and joint pain. Without vitamin D, the body cannot absorb the calcium needed for building and maintaining strong bones. More recently, it's been suggested that Tim might have suffered from renal tubular acidosis, a disease where the kidneys fail to excrete acids into the urine, causing them to build up in the blood. It can result in growth retardation, bone disease, and progressive renal failure.
Scrooge wakes up the next morning ecstatic to find that he is wrapped only in his bedclothes and not in the chains of hell. He promises (in song) to change his ways and begin to live again. He gives money to a young boy and asks him to purchase the prize turkey still hanging in the butcher's window. He then goes on a buying spree in a toy store. Accompanied by a dozen boys carrying all the toys, he dances through the streets, singing about how he likes life. He stops at another store and purchases a Father Christmas outfit, then begins tossing presents to the children in the street. He makes another stop at the Cratchits' house where he delivers the turkey and gives presents to the children. At first, Cratchit doesn't recognize him, but Scrooge eventually reveals himself and promises to find a doctor who can heal Tiny Tim. He then forgives all his debtors, and the villagers thank him (in song). In the final scene, Scrooge returns to his house where he hangs his hat and beard on the door knocker, assures Marley that they've finally brought a Merry Christmas to everyone, and goes inside to get dressed for dinner with his nephew Fred and family.
Like other versions, it overemphasizes Scrooge's moneylending. The Ghost of Christmas Past is characterized differently. The Ghost of Christmas Present does not show Scrooge scenes of poverty, nor do we see "Want" and "Ignorance" beneath his robe. It substitutes a public funeral procession for the scene where Scrooge's stolen possessions are sold where Scrooge's debtor joyously celebrate the death of their merciless creditor. It establishes that Scrooge's love was Fezziwig's daughter, showing scenes from their courtship away from Christmas. It adds on an entire sequence on Scrooge's arrival in hell that Dickens never wrote and which is frequently edited out of TV showings. (The sequence allowed for an extra scene with Alec Guiness. Scrooge shows his new nature in a much more public fashion than in the book, canceling his debts in a Father Christmas costume, leading a parade with an appreciative crowd through the streets, and going to the Cratchit's home on Christmas Day itself, rather than the day after.
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