Advent Calendar 2017! - Day 6


Version: Scrooge (1951, dir. Brian Desmond Hurst)

It was inevitable that we were going to have to deal with the classics at some point, so here we are: the Alistair Sims version. This really is a very good version of the scene. What strikes me about it is how natural the flow is. Alistair Sims gives a strong performance as he opens the window to hear the bells and then spontaneously gets the idea to buy the prized turkey when the urchin runs by. There's only one flaw in this chain of events: he doesn't ask about the date. It's such a crime too, because if he did this might be the perfect unbeatable version. It probably isn't too controversial to say that Alistair Sims is the best Scrooge we've had so far, and the look of both him and the urchin is perfect. Scrooge's nightgown could have been a little bit more garish and the urchin's cap could have been a little bit more oversized and floppy but regardless the look of these two characters is pretty damn spot on.

We only ever see the urchin in this version from the perspective of Scrooge, giving Scrooge complete control over how we view the other character. I'm starting to see a correlation here, wherein adaptations called 'Scrooge' rather than 'A Christmas Carol' tend quite fittingly to focus their framing around the character of Scrooge rather than affording equal importance to both characters. Note that we are viewing the urchin through Scrooge's eyes but we are not viewing Scrooge through the urchin's eyes; Scrooge instead looks off-camera to where the urchin is.

If I were pressed to criticise this version, I might say that the backdrop of the urchin shot is a little sparse, with a majority of the frame being filled with white snow, but I that's a minor issue. The big issue is the lack of any date reaction. In fact in this version the question isn't even asked. They came so frustratingly close to perfection but missed out on the top spot, which as of today still belongs to the 1984 Clive Donner version.

Framing 9 out of 10.
Scrooge's Reaction To The Date 0 out of 10.
Urchin Accent 10 out of 10.
Window Height 9 out of 10.
Scrooge Nightgown Quality 9 out of 10.
Urchin Cap Quality 9 out of 10.
Final Score 7.7 out of 10. If only this version featured the crucial date reveal moment, it would've been hard to beat.