A polished, saccharine MGM version of the yuletide classic that captures Dickens’ novel’s feel with plenty of heart and a masterclass of character development, though preachy at-times: the best adaptation of the iconic tale. 8/10.
Plot Synopsis: Ebenezer Scrooge (Reginald Owen) hates Christmas and mistreats his long-suffering employee, devoted family man Bob Cratchit (Gene Lockhart). But a visit from the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley (Leo G. Carroll) and three Christmas spirits (Lionel Braham, Ann Rutherford, D’Arcy Corrigan) might convince him to change his ways and become more kindhearted. This adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic became a holiday staple for decades.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
Most Memorable Moment: Scrooge’s encounters with the ghosts
Pros: Fantastic opening score and opening credits – gosh they don’t make em like that anymore, fast-paced and snappy storytelling (why I love classic movies as they didn’t have special fx and modern technology to hide behind and just had to rely on strong, artful storytelling and classic film techniques), Reginald Owens arguably the definitive Scrooge and truly makes you detest him in everything from how he walks to how he treats others doing things like greedily turning away charity collectors and thinking twice about giving his own employee Christmas off, great cinematography and location settings even shining through the black and white to make it feel Christmas-y, original in being the first live screen adaptation of Dickens’ classic story, Gene Lockhart Bob Cratchit jolly and shines portraying the joy and magic of Christmas, visitations the highlight of the movie – first one okay, but 2nd one and 3rd ones phenomenal, sweeping visuals shockingly considering the time period, emotional and meticulously written script that gets the heart and soul of Dickens’ novella and its social commentary right, a showcase of character development unlike many others in cinema history, great length as it wows being able to tell a story with that much depth & weight and craft in basically just 1 hour, phenomenal score that mirrors the emotion of the actors and storyline, top notch acting all around, uplifting and cheerful ending making you feel in the Christmas spirit
Cons: Can get a little preachy and overly one-sided and Christian in its religious execution, especially in the first ghost visitation which is ponderous and overlong, small lull in the back half – too cheery in the Bob family scenes
Overall Rating: 8/10