Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

The of the shillings in his counting

The 1951 adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, starring Alastair Sim brings the parsimonious, obstinate, and tight-fisted character of Ebenezer Scrooge to life while providing insight to his thoughts and actions, making his rendition a masterpiece. Alastair’s portrayal of Ebenezer is on par with Scrooge’s initial penny-pinching disposition, bitterness towards the idea of Christmas, and transformation from a miser to an optimistic, enlightened, and cheery man. The movie’s trueness to the original text and the enhanced costume designs as well as staging all contribute to its success. Alastair Sim’s portrayal of Scrooge is unparalleled in regards to accuracy in aesthetics and character as described in the novella. Scrooge’s pointed nose, shriveled cheeks, stiffened gait, wiry chin, and thin lips are portrayed through Alistair in the finest detail. His shrewd and curt responses in his firm grating voice resemble that of Scrooge as can be seen in his quick dismissal of his nephew as well as the two gentlemen that ask for provisions for the destitute. Alastair’s intent counting of the shillings in his counting house and bent figure further depicts Scrooge’s money-grubbing character. Scrooge’s coldness is apparent as caroling children scamper away from Alastair and blind men’s dogs lead their owners across the open courts. His occasional touches of “Humbug” also add slight humor to the rather gloomy plot, helping to alleviate the mood during the especially unnerving scene of Marley’s ghost. This aligns with Scrooge’s censure towards a very “Merry Christmas” in his belief that this holiday was a total fraud and his sturdy lifestyle that ultimately changes, resulting in extreme disapproval at the sight of Marley’s apparition. The 1951 production does an astounding job of adhering to the original novella in respect to the plot sequence and the central theme that Charles Dickens intended to convey. The movie follows the plot flawlessly beginning with Scrooge, a London miser, working meticulously in his counting-house with his clerk, Bob Cratchit, to his visit by Marley’s ghost who informs Scrooge of the three spirits that would bring him on a journey through Christmases of the Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The production captures the pivotal moments of Scrooge’s transformation that accompany the visit by the spirits, such as the flashbacks to Fan in her deathbed, his tragic relationship with Belle, insight into the lives of the Cratchits, and his tombstone, leading him to rediscover the duty of oneself to mankind and the meaning behind the spirit of Christmas. Alastair Sim reveals the transformation of Scrooge emotionally and spiritually as he fully embraces the emotions Scrooge experiences, from a selfish miser to an overjoyed saved man, as well as adopting a cheery, optimistic outlook of life. The cinematography, costume design, and soundtrack were ingenious and most certainly top-notch. Each scene flowed seamlessly to the next, helping to establish a cohesive and effective story. The costume design resembled that of the norm during the mid-nineteenth century and was aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The transparency of Marley’s ghost amazed me as it left me wondering how it was done. The soundtrack played a major role in building suspense and establishing the mood of the film, as in the scene of Marley’s first appearance to Scrooge, which instilled fear in the audience and the Christmas carols nearing the end of the movie, indicating a festive and merry occasion. This a movie I recommend all families and friends to watch especially during the Christmas season when the spirit of giving and jolliness is present in the atmosphere. The production’s superior acting, cinematography, costume designs, clear visuals, and Alastair Sim’s role as Scrooge weaves the film into a masterpiece.


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