This is a very quick run through of A Christmas Carol, assuming the audience already knows the story, and instead simply condensing the whole thing down into five scenes (although unfortunately the last one seems to have been lost at some point in the century since).
But still, we get the three visions of past, present and future, with some nice early double exposure trick shots to help portray the ghosts, and some good overacting from Scrooge (I especially like his “Look! It’s me!” turn to the camera when he sees the scene from his past).
Because it’s so short, this is fairly slight all round, but it’s pretty charming nonetheless, and I like how utterly delighted the children in Bob Cratchit’s scene seem to be. I was also kind of surprised to see the word ‘Xmas’ here, but apparently that’s hundreds of years old and not some relatively modern invention like I’d obviously previously assumed. Maybe X isn’t quite the futuristically cool letter I’d always thought it to be.
Now, while Scrooge was the oldest Christmas Carol adaptation, the oldest Dickens film is the (very short) Death Of Poor Joe, which was made a year or so earlier, in 1900. A whole minute of ultra misery, this recreates a single scene from Bleak House, and there’s not much to say about it really (I have never read Bleak House, so the full sadness of the situation is lost on me, I’m afraid).
But for completeness’s sake I have included it here.
1. I watched Scrooge, Or Marley’s Ghost on the BFI Player
2. But it’s also on youtube if you can’t see the BFI Player version.
3. Although that version seems to be played at double the speed of the one on the BFI site.
4. I don’t know why.
5. Also I watched this while listening to this version of Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence by Ryuichi Sakamoto, which seemed to fit rather nicely.
6. Although it’s such a lovely bit of music it probably fits nicely with everything.
7. Also, I watched The Death Of Poor Joe on the BFI Player too.
8. And that’s available on youtube too.