“My life used to be good, now it’s just stinky.”
“My future involves a cheap looking skeleton-aieeeee!”
This fella named Scrooge is a hard working type who gets taken advantage by lazy bums. Oh, no wait Scrooge is actually supposed to be in the wrong here-you mean old miser you. He grumps at his employee Bob Cratchet, then he grumps at some guys wanting money and he grumps at people that owe him money. Wow, what a fun movie it’s all about an about old geezer being sour. Then people just break out in song for no obvious reason. Oh that must mean this is a musical. Apparently this Scrooge doesn’t like music either because the songs sure aren’t helping his mood any. He is not too easily scared either as his door knocker turns into a face and he sees a ghostly carriage driver yet still remains unruffled. Maybe ghosts were commonplace in 19th century England. He doesn’t get much sleep as his old business partner Jacob Marley shows up for a visit. Hey that’s great, oh wait he died years ago so not so great. This ghost tells Scrooge he will be visited by even more ghosts. I’m sure keeping an old grump up more with ghostly visits will surely help his mood. The first ghost is a woman who shows Scrooge how he used to be kind of nice and then became greedy and turned his life into a miserable suck fest. The second ghost shows up to get Scrooge drunk, show him that he’s missing out by not visiting with his nephew and that he’s causing his employee grief by being such a miser. The third ghost shows Scrooge a life where people sing and are happy and um well all that is because Scrooge dies and all the people that owe him money are happy and celebrate his death. He even goes to hell and see what a not so wonderful place it is. So he chooses to come back and be good and wonderful to people. This results in him running and singing through town dressed as Santa just like we’d all do as an alternative to going to hell. So he is a changed man and will be good from now on.
The negatives-If you don’t like musicals you may not be thrilled by this one. This was actually a bit of a box office failure when it came out. Then again so was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory when it came out a year later. So maybe movie goers in the early 70’s didn’t know a good musical when they saw it. The scene in hell always seemed a little out of place to me and actually this scene used to be cut out of the film when it came on TV-not sure if that was because of content or time constraints.
The positives-Albert Finney does a fine job as Scrooge and the make-up was top notch making him look 25 plus years older than he was. The songs are mostly strong and performed well. The standout is likely Anton Rogers as soup man Ton Jenkins leading “Thank you very much” over the dead body of Scrooge. The sets are visuals are memorable as well. The toy store in particular always drew me in.
When I was in 6th grade we took a school field trip to see this in the movies around Christmas and I loved it. It was a re-release then as it was 11 years old when I first saw it, but I have enjoyed it ever since.
Look out, there’s a Christmas musical coming down main street.