Director: Ronald Neame
Stars: Albert Finney, Alec Guinness, Edith Evans, Kenneth More, Laurence Naismith
Genre: Drama, Family, Fantasy
Rating: G (General Audience)
Runtime: 113 minutes

This British production of Dickens's Christmas Carol has been eclipsed by subsequent versions, but it stands on its own as a darkly atmospheric (if sometimes regrettably brisk) telling of the beloved tale. Even with the rough quality of existing prints, this Scrooge has a visual intensity that approaches the bold compositions of German expressionism. And in its central role it has a mostly forgotten star: Sir Seymour Hicks, one of the era's celebrated English stage actors. With his gnarled face and flyaway hair, Hicks looks every inch the mean old misanthrope, and his cruelty has a realistic quality missing in some of the more stylized interpreters of the role. Hicks had played Scrooge many times on stage (and before in silent film), and he gets the tenor of every "Humbug!" just right. As a bandy-legged Bob Cratchit, Donald Calthorp is a perfect Victorian illustration come to grinning life. --Robert Horton

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