We’ve got a seasonal review for today. We’re also looking at ways to make sure the Saturday reviews continue in spite of the increasing offline demands some of us are feeling.
Cast and Crew
Reginal Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge
Gene Lockhart as Bob Crachit
Kathleen Lockhart as Mrs. Crachit
Terry Kilburn as Tiny Tim
Barry MacKay as Fred
Lynne Carver as Bess
Leo G. Carroll as Jacob Marley’s ghost
Ann Rutherford as the Spirit of Christmas Past
Lionel Braham as the Spirit of Christmas Present
D’Arcy Corrigan as the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come
Screenplay by Hugo Butler, based on the Charles Dickens story.
Directed by Edwin L. Marin.
Complete information is available from this IMDB
Past movie reviews can be found here.
It’s A Christmas Carol. If you don’t know what that’s about, go here.
While Mrs. Crachit’s line about saving the children was great, the best part has to be the scenes on the street. They ground the period and add depth to the story.
Scrooge’s very rapid transformation. This should have been more gradual.
Is there really any originality in another adaptation of Dickens’ work? This wasn’t even the first full length adaptation. I give it 2 out of 6.
The effects were either transparency or flying, both of which were good for the time, and not horrible today. I give it 4 out of 6.
The story was rushed at the end, but it keeps more of Dickens’ trademark wit than most versions. (I do prefer the print version, if only for the second paragraph about the deadest piece of ironmongery; see the link above if you haven’t read it.) I give it 4 out of 6.
The acting is well done, with subtlety when the roles demanded it. I give it 5 out of 6.
Keeping Dickens’ wit makes a bit difference. Most versions are inspiring, but this one is also very amusing. I give it 5 out of 6.
The production was limited by the available technology. Candlelit scenes were obviously spotlit, for example, but in 1938 they didn’t have access to movie resolution film that would register with the power of a candle. Unfortunately, this means that a candle may appear between Scrooge and his shadow. There’s even a moment when the candle itself casts a clear shadow. I give it 4 out of 6.
Overall, it’s one of the better adaptations I’ve seen. (I haven’t seen the Alastair Sim or George C. Scott versions yet, but there are other Christmases to write reviews for.) I give it 5 out of 6.
In total, the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol receives 29 out of 42.