Film / Scrooge (1970)

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Scrooge is a 1970 film adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, directed by Ronald Neame. A musical adaptation, with book and songs by Leslie Bricusse, it stars Albert Finney as Ebenezer Scrooge and Sir Alec Guinness as Jacob Marley.

It received a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation in 1992, which added six additional songs.


This film provides examples of:

  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: Scrooge's initial explanation for Marley's appearance is this. Given that Scrooge's dinner that night had been provided by someone who owed Scrooge a great deal of money, it's amazing that Scrooge didn't take alleged hallucinations caused by bad food as proof that Tom Jenkins was trying to poison him.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Most stage versions remove the trip to Hell, but keep in Marley saying he's been expecting Scrooge and devils appearing with a huge chain in a further attempt to scare Scrooge straight.
  • Adaptation Expansion: After the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge his own grave, Scrooge falls into it and finds himself in Hell, where Marley reappears to show him what he has to look forward to.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Scrooge's nephew was renamed from Fred to Harry, Belle becomes Isabel, and the stage version renames Scrooge's sister Fan to Jenny.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • The stage version makes Scrooge even more of a jerk than in the film, getting an additional song about how much he loves money, berating Marley's ghost after his visit, and denying any fault for his current circumstances.
    • Jacob Marley is also more caustic onstage than in the film, getting even more lines mocking Scrooge.
  • Adapted Out: The scene of Scrooge's items being pawned off in the future is cut out.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: The Christmas Yet to Come sequence, showing the public reaction to Scrooge's death, ups the ante from "nobody mourns him" to "spontaneous Crowd Song celebrating his death".
    Thank you very much!
    Thank you very much!
    That's the nicest thing that anyone's ever done for me!
  • Body Horror: The walls and rocks of Hell are made up of tormented faces.
  • Call-Back: When Bob Cratchit buys his family goose from the poulterer, the prize turkey is hanging in the front of the shop. Bob mentions he bought "the finest bird in the shop," while looking at it.
  • Canon Foreigner: Tom Jenkins, a hot soup vendor and debtor of Scrooge's. He even gets to lead one of the most memorable numbers in the film, "Thank You Very Much".
  • Close-Knit Community: Camden Town is portrayed this way, for the most part.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In the film, everyone in the Fezziwig Christmas party scene wears rather muted colors except for Isabel, who wears a bright ice-blue dress.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In the future sequence, Scrooge is gleeful at the crowd singing "Thank You Very Much" in front of his office, not realizing they're so happy because he's dead.
  • Composite Character: In the stage version the Ghost of Christmas Past is also Scrooge's sister Jenny.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Scrooge.
    • The Spirit of Christmas Present gets a good one on Scrooge:
      Scrooge: I want to look in the window [at Cratchit's house].
      Spirit: It will cost you nothing, which I'm sure is good news for you.
      Scrooge: Will they be able to see me?
      Spirit: No, which I'm sure is good news for them.
  • The End: The film ends with a "Merry Christmas" title card in place of this.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Scrooge's nephew Harry is only named once in the film, with Scrooge just calling him "nephew."
  • Evil Debt Collector: Scrooge during the "I Hate People" number. He charges people more than 20% interest for a one week extension on loans (And that's weekly interest, not annual), and then helps himself to the goods his clients are selling without considering that to be part of their payment.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: After Marley shows Scrooge the phantoms, he disappears just long enough for Scrooge to think it was a dream before reappearing to talk some more.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Scrooge has a vision of ending up in Hell, which is red-hot except for his office, which is freezing cold.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: When Scrooge's sister appears, she's wearing a yellow outfit with a muff and shoulder cape trimmed with white feathers.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Scrooge's office in Hell still has the "Scrooge and Marley" door sign.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Inverted. The Ghost of Christmas Present pours what looks like wine in a cup he gives to Ebenezer to drink, and calls it the milk of human kindness.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": Everyone who owes Scrooge money shows up to his funeral. They start the wake a bit early, with one guy even dancing on his coffin.
  • Got Me Doing It: Even Scrooge can't help getting caught up in the festivities that are his own funeral, albeit obliviously.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Scrooge pleads with the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come and while in Hell that he can repent and change his ways; Marley dismisses this with an indifferent "Bah Humbug". Subverted in that Scrooge wakes up alive in his bedroom, realizing he is not in Hell.
  • I Have Many Names: Scrooge's nephew is called Harry in the movie and stage version and Fred in the DVD menu.
  • If Only You Knew: Harry's wife tells him that she doesn't want Uncle Ebenezer "haunting their party," while Scrooge and the Spirit of Christmas Present are in the room with them.
  • Ironic Hell: Scrooge's "office" in Hell is identical to the one that Bob Cratchit works in, right down to it being freezing cold.
    Marley: You will be to him, so to speak, what Bob Cratchit was to you.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: "Fools who have no money spend it/Get in debt, then try to end it/Beg me on their knees, befriend them/Knowing I have cash to lend them..." This is true, even today.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: In flashbacks, Isabel takes part in an archery contest and wins while still wearing her finest dress.
  • Lonely Funeral: This adaptation is one of the few that doesn't invoke this trope. Half of Camden Town shows up for Scrooge's funeral (the half that owes him money), though they technically aren't mourners.
  • Mood Whiplash: When Scrooge sees the ghostly carriage on the stairs, the driver wishes him a Merry Christmas.
  • Movie Bonus Song: Inverted. The stage version has six additional songs, including "M.O.N.E.Y.," "It's Not My Fault," "Love While You Can," "The Milk of Human Kindness," "The Minister's Cat," and "A Better Life."
  • Never My Fault: The stage version has a song where after Marley's visit, Scrooge rails into him, accuses him of trying to steal his money, blames him for dying, and denies any fault for his actions and current circumstances.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Scrooge comes to the Cratchit house dressed as Father Christmas, they think he has gone mad. Scrooge doubling Bob's salary only seems to confirm their suspicions.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: This version of the Ghost of Christmas Past wears a red dress rather than a white/yellow one as in many other adaptations.
  • Pretty in Mink: The Ghost of Christmas Past is portrayed as a typical lady of the time, and carrying a fur muff.
  • Recurring Riff: "I Like Life", sung by various people throughout — including, eventually, Scrooge.
  • Scare 'em Straight: This adaptation has Scrooge being threatened with Hell if he doesn't reform. It works.
  • The Snark Knight: Jacob Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Present are more snarky than in most serious versions, particularly in the stage version where they get additional lines mocking Scrooge.
  • Supreme Chef: Even pre-reformation Scrooge can't deny that Tom Jenkins' soup tastes amazing, taking a cup with him to go.
  • There Was a Door: Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present utterly shatter the window as they leave the house.
  • Too Spicy For Yog Sogoth: Scrooge is so nasty that the milk of human kindness wears off when he sees Harry's party games and starts to insult the guests, and the Ghost suggests he drink some more.
  • Triumphant Reprise:
    • The first version of "Thank You Very Much" is a grave-dancing tune, but the reprise is one of genuine gratitude toward him after he turns over a new leaf. This is actually done without any change to the words whatsoever, just a change in context as to why the song is being sung.
    • Also "No Better Life" and its light reprise "A Better Life".
    • The first rendition of "Father Christmas" mocks Scrooge's complete lack of Christmas spirit. The second celebrates his discovery of it.
  • Truer to the Text: This version includes the ghostly hearse, and Scrooge wishing to make amends with the boy singing carols.
  • Villain Song: Scrooge gets "I Hate People," and in the stage version "M.O.N.E.Y."
  • You Fool!: Scrooge to his younger self, as the latter lets Isabel break their engagement and walk away from him.


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