7.5/10
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83 user 28 critic

A Christmas Carol (1938)

Not Rated | | Drama, Family, Fantasy | 16 December 1938 (USA)
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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 ... 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

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

Even though Bob, Tiny Tim and the rest of the family are poor like in the novel they seem well off. For example they wear fancy clothing during Christmas dinner in the Present sequence and their home is middle class. Considering how Bob only got payed 15 shillings a week it is a wonder how they live so well. 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 A Christmas Carol (1950) 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

 
One of the Most Beautiful Christmas Tales
2 December 2012 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In the Nineteenth Century, in London, the bitter, greedy and cranky Ebenezer Scrooge (Reginald Owen) hates Christmas and people. He runs his business exploiting his employee Bob Cratchit (Gene Lockhart) and spends unfriendly treatment to his nephew Fred (Barry MacKay) and acquaintances.

In the Christmas Eve, he is visited by the doomed chained ghost of his former partner Jacob Marley (Leo G. Carroll), who died seven years ago and tells him that three spirits would visit him that night. The first one, the spirit of past Christmas, recalls his happy childhood and coming of age; the spirit of the present Christmas shows him the poor situation of Bob's family and the happiness of Fred and his fiancée Bessy; and the spirit of future Christmas shows his fate. Scrooge finds that life is good and finds redemption changing thoughts about Christmas, Bob, tiny Tim, his nephew and people in general.

"A Christmas Carol" is one of the most beautiful Christmas tales in the cinema. I do not recall how many adaptations of one of the most known Charles Dickens' short story I have seen but this 1938 is also wonderful. I do not have much more to say but recommend this magnificent family entertainment. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Um Conto de Natal" ("A Christmas Tale")


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