Film / A Christmas Carol (1938)

A Christmas Carol is a 1938 film adaptation of the novel of the same name.

Directed by Edwin L. Marin, it stars Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge, Gene Lockhart as Bob Cratchit, Kathleen Lockhart as Mrs. Cratchit, Barry MacKay as Fred, and Leo G. Carroll as Marley's Ghost.


This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The film includes several scenes of Fred and Bob Cratchit being Christmassy that are not in the book.
    • Scrooge tries to call the night watchman on Marley's ghost. When the police find nothing and leave, Marley reappears, confirming that he's real.
    • This adaptation has Fred not be married yet, but engaged, and the Ghost of Christmas Present warns Scrooge that their love could fade with time.
  • Adapted Out:
    • This version completely removes Ebenezer's doomed romance with Belle, although the Ghost of Christmas Past does hint at it, saying that she had yet to show him the "black years" of his life.
    • The scene where an undertaker, a laundress and a charwoman sell Scrooge's possessions to Old Joe is also adapted out.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Bob Cratchit knocks Scrooge's hat off with a snowball, and as the latter starts to yell at him the hat is run over by a horse and cart. This leads to Bob getting fired and charged for damages to the hat.
  • The Dreaded: Scrooge is so feared that when Fred tells some children he's Scrooge's nephew they run away from him.
  • Informed Poverty: The "poor as churchmice" Cratchits live in a house that actually looks like a pretty nice, middle-class home.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: The ghost of Jacob Marley is wearing the clothes he was buried in.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bob Cratchit's reaction when he discovers that he hit Scrooge with a snowball and damaged his hat.
  • One of the Kids: Bob Cratchit slides on ice with neighborhood kids and also joins them in a snowball fight.
  • Pun: When Marley's ghost disappears, the watchman jokes about alcoholic spirits.
  • Reality Ensues: Scrooge tries to call the night watchman on Marley's ghost, to no avail.
  • Running Away to Cry: Young Ebenezer is shown putting on a good face when he's the only one at his school apparently not going home for Christmas, but when the other boys leave, he's weeping in a classroom.
  • The Unreveal: Scrooge extinguishes the Ghost of Christmas Past before she can show him "the black years of [his] life".
  • When He Smiles: Lampshaded by Scrooge himself when he shows up at his nephew's house after his conversion:
    Fred: Who are you?
    Scrooge: It's me! Your uncle Scrooge! Smile makes a difference, doesn't it?


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