Version: A Christmas Carol (1938, dir. Edwin L. Marin)
Today's shot-reverse-shot Scrooge/urchin conversation from a film version of A Christmas Carol is honestly pretty disappointing. The biggest flaw in this one is the lack of ANY reaction whatsoever to the date. Scrooge doesn't even acknowledge the urchin's answer, instead jumping straight into his request for the wee lad to go buy him the prized turkey that's as big as he is. The reaction is completely absent. It's a real shame too, because it renders both the question and the entire scene pointless. Remember, this scene is initiated by Scrooge's need to know the date, and the request for the turkey is merely the result of Scrooge's new capricious spontaneity. By not giving the resolution to the date dilemma time to sink in, the emotional beats of the scene have no time to land and it makes the whole thing feel rather perfunctory.
It's a real shame too because this scene features both a good urchin and an excellent Scrooge, who's lively and filled with Christmas cheer. The framing of the two shots is nice, making the conversation look like a nice bit of friendly banter between two equals rather than anything too one-sided. The power given to Scrooge by the low-angle is countered by the fact that the shot of the urchin isn't a POV shot, with the urchin instead looking to the left of the camera. This gives the urchin a degree of control within his own frame rather than making him the subject of The Miser Gaze. There's also some quite pleasant music in the background of this version. So far there seems to be a split between adaptations of the scene with no soundtrack, instead letting the interplay and charisma of the two actors tell the story for us, or adaptations which give this scene a lively jig to convey Scrooge's newfound jubilance. There's a lot to like here but the lack of any reaction to the date seems like such an obvious oversight. Omitting it really misses the point of what this scene is all about.
|Framing||8 out of 10.|
|Scrooge's Reaction To The Date||0 out of 10.|
|Urchin Accent||5 out of 10.|
|Window Height||8 out of 10.|
|Scrooge Nightgown Quality||7 out of 10.|
|Urchin Cap Quality||5 out of 10.|
|Final Score||5.5 out of 10. This version is merely passable. It's competently shot but the lack of any reaction to the date makes the whole conversation a little pointless.|