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A Christmas Carol (1938)

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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 »

Director:

Edwin L. Marin

Writers:

Charles Dickens (novel), Hugo Butler (screen play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Reginald Owen ... Ebenezer Scrooge
Gene Lockhart ... Bob Cratchit
Kathleen Lockhart ... Mrs. Cratchit
Terry Kilburn ... Tiny Tim
Barry MacKay ... Fred (as Barry Mackay)
Lynne Carver ... Bess
Leo G. Carroll ... Marley's Ghost
Lionel Braham Lionel Braham ... Spirit of Christmas Present
Ann Rutherford ... Spirit of Christmas Past
D'Arcy Corrigan D'Arcy Corrigan ... Spirit of Christmas Future
Ronald Sinclair ... Young Scrooge
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 December 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The word "humbug" is misunderstood by many people, which is a pity since the word provides a key insight into Scrooge's hatred of Christmas. The word "humbug" describes deceitful efforts to fool people by pretending to a fake loftiness or false sincerity. So when Scrooge calls Christmas a humbug, he is claiming that people only pretend to charity and kindness in a scoundrel effort to delude him, each other, and themselves. In Scrooge's eyes, he is the one man honest enough to admit that no one really cares about anyone else, so for him, every wish for a Merry Christmas is one more deceitful effort to fool him and take advantage of him. This is a man who has turned to profit because he honestly believes everyone else will someday betray him or abandon him the moment he trusts them. See more »

Goofs

The voice-over at the beginning of the film announces that this story takes place over a hundred years ago. Dickens wrote and published the novel in 1843, which is less than a hundred years from 1938. See more »

Quotes

Ebenezer Scrooge: Please let me stay!
Spirit of Christmas Present: Nonsense! You don't want to stay!
Ebenezer Scrooge: Yes, I do!
Spirit of Christmas Present: No! You don't like Christmas!
Ebenezer Scrooge: Yes! Yes I do! I like Christmas! I LOVE Christmas!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Version of John Grin's Christmas (1986) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Reginald Owen is the star.....
14 December 2003 | by gkeith_1See all my reviews

How refreshing to see Reginald Owen as star of a movie. So what if he was the last minute replacement for Lionel Barrymore. I have read earlier comments for this movie, and I will give you my take.

I first saw Reginald Owen in "Mary Poppins", playing Admiral Boom, a character whom I thought was insanely crazy. I realized, many years later, that Owen was a very intelligent actor who had carried many a movie, mostly in character settings. Indeed, in "Poppins", Owen played along with all the craziness in the story.

In "A Christmas Carol", Owen plays Ebenezer Scrooge, essaying the lead part well. How refreshing, indeed. As an acting student, I noticed how Scrooge's forehead "old-age makeup" resembled that of what I was taught last summer in a theatre stage makeup class at The Ohio State University. There is that liquid latex (that has dried, of course) with just enough wrinkle to make his face give the hint of elderliness, whereas in real life Owen was only 51 years old.

As for Lionel Barrymore, I glean from my studies of the Barrymores that if they had made enough money on the stage they would never have "gone Hollywood", like they did. I think they had long ago sold out to the moneyed establishment. Definitely a lucky break for Reginald Owen, who for most of his career played the-glue character parts or second leads. Admiral Boom is certainly "an aside" in Mary Poppins.

In "A Christmas Carol", I noticed that "Tiny Tim" was played by the boy who played "Colley" in "Goodbye, Mr. Chips". So what if the actor was too old. He conveyed the spirit of the story. He was a good actor.

The Lockharts were great, especially Gene as Bob Cratchit. Lockhart also played the double roles of The Starkeeper and The Graduation Speaker in "Carousel", as an older man, and certainly always a rotund one. Indeed, it was other actors supporting Reginald Owen this time, not the other way 'round.

The Ghost of Christmas Present was well made up and costumed. I liked his hair and beautiful robes -- the robes reminded me of the fur-trimmed outfits of modern Santa Clauses. He did a good job showing Ebenezer Scrooge the error of his ways.

All, it was a heartwarming story about how a wretchedly selfish individual gets shown the error of his ways, and is given a chance to right his self-centered existence. A charming holiday season movie to watch.


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