Film / Scrooge (1970)

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.

This film provides examples of:

  • Acid Reflux Nightmare:
    Jacob Marley: You don't believe in me, do you?
    Scrooge: No, I don't.
    Marley: Why do you doubt the evidence of your own eyes?
    Scrooge: Because, I've had a slight stomach disorder. It has undoubtedly affected my vision. You're an hallucination. Probably brought on by an undigested bit of beef, or a glob of mustard, a crumb of cheese, or an old potato. Yes, that's what you are. You are an old potato!
    • Given that Scrooge's dinner that night had been provided by someone who owed Scrooge a great deal of money, the amazing thing is that Scrooge didn't take alleged hallucinations caused by bad food as proof that Tom Jenkins was trying to poison him.
  • 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.
  • 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".
    Thank you very much!
    Thank you very much!
    That's the nicest thing that anyone's ever done for me!
  • Call-Back: When Bob Crachit 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 Isabelle, who wears a bright sky-blue dress.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In the future sequence, Scrooge at first is gleeful at the crowd singing "Thank you very much" in front of his office, not realizing WHY they are so happy.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Bob mentions that Tiny Tim is "a financial wizard at only seven years old." This means Tim is as old as Marley is dead.
  • 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.
  • Evil Debt Collector/Loan Shark: 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.
    • To be expected, since in the Christmas Carol Scrooge is supposed to be a "money lender", meaning his job was to place high-interest loans for people whose credit was far too poor to receive loans anywhere else. Even in this version he never went beyond what was considered normal and legal business for his line of work, albeit cruel and heartless.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Scrooge has a vision of ending up in it after seeing his grave and then falling into it.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: When Scrooge's sister appears, she's wearing a yellow outfit with a muff and shoulder cape trimmed with white feathers.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Inverted. The Spirit of Christmas Present pours what looks like wine in a cup he gives to Ebeneezer to drink, and calls it the milk of human kindness.
  • Got Me Doing It: Even Scrooge can't help getting caught up in the festivities that are his own funeral, albeit obliviously.
  • If Only You Knew: Fred'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.
  • 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, though they technically aren't mourners...
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Scrooge comes to the Cratchit house dressed as Father Christmas, they think he has gone mad.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different
  • Pretty in Mink: The Ghost of Christmas Past is portrayed as a typical lady of the time, and carrying a fur muff.
  • Properly Paranoid: Played with, Scrooge is so convinced that someone would come into his room while he's asleep that he puts his keys under the chamberpot.
  • Recurring Riff: "I Like Life", sung by various people throughout — including, eventually, Scrooge.
  • Triumphant Reprise:
    • The first version of "Thank You Very Much" is a grave-dancing tune in all but one aspect (someone's dancing on Scrooge's coffin before they bury it) but the reprise is one of genuine gratitude toward him after he turns over a new leaf (The lyrics are unchanged however - the song is simply about the singer's gratitude for an unspecified favor. All that changes between the two renditions is the nature of the situation causing the song to be 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.
  • Villain Song: "I Hate People"
  • You Fool!: Scrooge to his younger self, as the latter lets Isabel break their engagement and walk away from him.