The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.
Day 5: “Scrooge” (1970)
The holiday season has it’s share of traditions. We have the almost universal traditions like trees, presents, and togetherness. Many families have a few personal traditions that are passed down generation to generation. Many of those traditions have to do with particular songs or stories that are important to a family or group of like minded individuals. As new generations take on the tradition, it sometimes gets modified to please the modern interests of the new caretakers.
Charles Dickens short story ‘A Christmas Carol” is one of those traditional stories that people have been enjoying during the holiday season for many generations. The tradition of the telling the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the three Christmas ghosts has been told many different ways since it’s original publication. Many variations have been good, some bad, and some just downright strange.
1970’s “Scrooge” was the latest in a long line of “A Christmas Carol” film adaptations. The 1970 version was not even the first adaptation to use the name Scrooge as their title (we will discuss another one of these films later on). What set this “Scrooge” apart from the “A Christmas Carol” film adaptations of the past is that this theatrical version was a musical. Yes, the world finally got to see a singing and dancing Scrooge, Marley, the spirits, and of course a toe tapping Tiny Tim. Merry Christmas to all indeed.
“Scrooge” was a hit with a few of the critics in 1970. A 34 year old Albert Finney played the title character and was widely praised for his interpretation of the old miser. Finney won the 1971 Golden Globe for the role, and the film went on to be nominated for four Oscars. With that kind of critical success, one would think that “Scrooge” would have become a new holiday tradition in all homes that celebrate with a telling of “A Christmas Carol”.
The fact is that “Scrooge” is somewhat lost in a seas of far superior retellings of Dicken’s tale. The first song given to Scrooge is called “I Hate People”. Finney’s Scrooge is downright terrible human being that should not be redeemed. He is no miser, he is a narcissist. Once Scrooge does promise to be good, after he fears for no love in his death, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come sends the elderly Scrooge to hell. There is literally a sequence of Scrooge being set with chains, while Jacob Marley does the Devil’s books. It makes almost no sense whatsoever. Scrooge was already accepting Christmas in his heart. What was going to hell going to do to the old man? Scenes like this is what causes the 1970 musical film ‘Scrooge” to get lost in the new tradition shuffle.
The thing is though, “Scrooge” should get another chance. Yes the movie is different, but the music is not bad. Albert Finney may not bring the best interpretation of Ebenezer Scrooge to the screen, but it is definitely a different take. Plus, the look of the movie is incredible. The scene in hell looks something from the mind of a madman. It is definitely like nothing you have seen, or imagined, in any version of “A Christmas Carol”.
This holiday season will be filled with many of the same movies and programs we have watched for years. We watch them because we love the stories, and we appreciate the familiarity. A new tradition for us should be check out a lost version of our favorite holiday tales. Go give “Scrooge” a chance. You may find the joyous tunes, and surreal atmosphere of the movie, to fit right in with a tradition that needs updating.
RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. Early December usually seems to drag on because we all just really wished it was Christmas today. Hey, there is a song about that.
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