Film & Water #168 – Scrooge


Episode 168 - Scrooge

Just in time for Christmas, Rob finally watches one of fellow Fire and Water Network All-Star Chris Franklin's favorite holiday movies, the 1970 musical SCROOGE starring Albert Finney and Alex Guinness!

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10 responses to “Film & Water #168 – Scrooge

  1. On a class field trip sometime in the 1980s, I had the pleasure of seeing this film in a historic theatre downtown, and this was my introduction to the story. They say you never forget your first Scrooge, and I agree. Glad to hear you both approved of the film and called attention to the Hell scene, which of course I would keep watching for in every A Christmas Carol movie I would see for years afterward, and was always disappointed.

    A throwaway gag in this clip has the MST3k guys reference the “Minister’s Cat” game, which HAS to have been from this movie.

    The role of the Ghost of Christmas Future would cross over to a fantasy/action movie later, and be played by Frank Langella. The film was “Masters of the Universe,” and I believe it loosely adapted Dickens’ Great Expectations.

  2. What luck, this show showed up, reminded me I’d never seen the musical, and persuaded me to watch it on BBC2 that very Christmas afternoon. I enjoyed it very much – and the Hell bits were all present and correct.

    Ronald Searle was the genius cartoonist behind the waspish St Trinian’s gag strips that begat the vintage British films (and more recent versions). I’d love to hear a Fire and Water on the original movies, which starred Joyce Grenfell, George Cole and a veritable cornucopia of other British acting greats. He also illustrated Geoffrey Willans’ Molesworth books. If you’ve never come across the original St Trinian’s cartoons, check them out, seeing them after growing up with the films is a little like seeing Charles Addams’ work after the TV show, magical.

    1. I love the 1951 version, Martin. It’s still my favorite. I’ve been meaning it to cover it in some fashion, perhaps even as a House of Franklin-Stein Christmas special, since it feels like a Universal or Val Lewton film in a lot of ways. Hey, it’s got Ernest Thesinger from Bride of Frankenstein! And of course George Cole and Michael Mallory would show up in Hammer films down the line. But Sim is hands down my favorite Scrooge, with Finney a close second.


      1. I’m not in the habit of inviting myself on shows, but if you want to cover Sim’s Scrooge, then PLEASE call me. Like you, it’s my all time favorite version of the story and I think it does what Jaws, and very few other adaptations, have done and improved on the original.

  3. I always remember this version of A Christmas Carol as the scary one, and had forgotten that it’s also a musical. I guess that means it’s been too long since I’ve watched this one. Thank you both for bringing this deficiency in my holiday movie viewing habits to my attention.

    I look forward to next year’s coverage of The Muppet’s Christmas Carol.

  4. I am nearly as big a fan of this film as Chris is! I am pretty sure this is the second film I saw at a cinema. (The first was “A Boy Named Charlie Brown”). I was six years old. This was also my first experience with this story. Up until this, I only knew Tiny Tim as a singer. The whole “hell sequence” really, really, scared me! Right from the reveal of the skeleton under the ghost’s robes, until Scrooge wakes up. That was mostly what I remembered. That and Marley. I had not seen the movie again until sometime in the last 10-15 years, but the first few bars of “Thank You Very Much” were quite frequently sung around our house while I was growing up, despite none of knowing the rest of the lyrics! In high school, one of my friends had a “Victorian Christmas Caroling” party, and after we went caroling, we played “The Minister’s Cat!”
    Because this was my first version of the story of “A Christmas Carol,” it took me a while to come around to liking the characters of the Charwoman, the laundress, and the undertaker. I couldn’t quite grasp what and who they were. My wife is a huge “Christmas Carol” fan and I am almost her equal. We also have that wonderful book of the annotated Christmas Carol, and we enjoy watching the myriad versions. I have a fantasy of someday editing my favorite scenes from each into one version.
    I think this is a marvelous film. Finney is amazing. The dancing is joyous. The camera work is superb. I’m so glad you did this!

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