Advent Calendar 2017! - Day 11


Version: Scrooge (1970, dir. Ronald Neame)

We're moving back into live action for our next Scrooge-urchin shot-reverse-shot dialogue analysis. We're once again dealing with a classic adaptation, the musical version with Albert Finney and Alec Guinness, so it's important for me to cut through the nostalgia and acclaim to get to the beating heart of what really matters: how well the urchin conversation at the end is handled. I'm here to take the controversy of criticising a beloved Christmas film so other media scholars don't have to.

Immediately this version is unique in that it's the only one we've looked at so far that has Scrooge going outside to address the urchin face-to-face rather than shouting to him from the window. I can't decide how I feel about this change. On the one hand, having Scrooge outside with the urchin puts him at the same level as him both physically and metaphorically; in fact the camera in this version even looks down at Scrooge and up at the urchin rather than the other way around. This puts the power in the urchin's hands and conveys Scrooge's newfound humility and compassion much more effectively than him shouting down from a window does. On the other hand however, Scrooge shouting down from the window captures a certain level of spontaneity and whimsy by how unorthodox a way of buying a turkey it is. It's a very complex change to make and a bold act of rebellion against the standards of the form.

Both Scrooge and the urchin are excellent in this version. The urchin comes close to being perfect: loud slightly obnoxious British accent, weird large cap that makes him look like an old-timey train conductor, and even a fun scarf like Moira Armstrong's 1977 urchin. Albert Finney is a wonderful Scrooge too. His take on the character isn't as nuanced as Patrick Stewart's portrayal, which is still my favourite, but he gives it a lot of heart and his excitement is infectious. All-in-all, a solid and adventurous take on the iconic festive scene.

Framing 8 out of 10.
Scrooge's Reaction To The Date 9 out of 10.
Urchin Accent 10 out of 10.
Window Height 0 out of 10.
Scrooge Nightgown Quality 6 out of 10.
Urchin Cap Quality 9 out of 10.
Final Score 7 out of 10. A unique and well-done version with an excellent Scrooge.