Advent Calendar 2017! - Day 7


Version: The Christmas Carol (1949, dir. Arthur Pierson)

Here's the weirdest version of the Scrooge/urchin shot-reverse-shot dialogue scene we've analysed so far. It's weird because it lacks half the scene, both in the sense that it ends after the date reveal and makes no mention of the prized turkey, and that it doesn't even have a shot of the urchin. The urchin is instead a voice from off-camera, and it isn't even a particularly good urchin voice. Serious marks are lost here by the omission of the urchin, as it is impossible to properly give a rating to a cap that isn't even shown. However, unlike previous scenes that have not featured the cap, we can't actually see the urchin's head at all in this version, so perhaps the cap does exist but it is merely in the extra space outside the frame implied by Scrooge's gaze. I will therefore give the urchin cap a single point out of ten as I enjoy how conceptual this cap is.

Normally I'd be interested in a version of the scene filmed entirely in one long unbroken shot, Spielberg-style, but here the one shot that comprises the entire exchange is terrible. There's no sense of height to this window. If it weren't for the fact that he was looking down, we could easily believe Scrooge was talking to the urchin from the ground floor. Terrible. And there's just no personality in the shot at all.

At the very least, Scrooge gives us a good reaction to the date here. That's basically all this version does right. Oh, and nothing is gained by changing the title from 'A Christmas Carol' to 'The Christmas Carol', unless of course Arthur Pierson wanted us to believe he was directing the definitive version of the scene, in which case we can add hubris to this adaptation's list of crimes.

Framing 5 out of 10.
Scrooge's Reaction To The Date 7 out of 10.
Urchin Accent 4 out of 10.
Window Height 1 out of 10.
Scrooge Nightgown Quality 0 out of 10.
Urchin Cap Quality 1 out of 10.
Final Score 3 out of 10. Lord, I hope this is the worst version of the scene we have to watch.