May 081935
one reel

The first feature-length, talkie, version of Dickens’ story in which Ebenezer Scrooge (Sir Seymour Hicks) learns the meaning of Christmas from three spirits.

Quick Review: Yes, 1935 was a long time ago and many film techniques were not yet invented, but that is no excuse for dull acting and non-existent camera work. Nor does saying “it was the depression,” make up for poor execution. Those are explanations for this film’s failure, but noting them doesn’t make it any less of a failure. I might be able to ignore the invisible ghosts (Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come are not seen, and the Ghost of Christmas Past is just a blur) but the static camera work stays with me. Cameras need to move. Not a lot necessarily, but some.  In Scrooge, the cameraman must have stepped out for a quick sandwich while filming.

Seymour Hicks plays Scrooge as if he he’s reading the lines for the first time (surprising for a man who had performed the part on stage for years). The rest of the cast are forgettable (well, Christmas Present isn’t, but it’s a performance I’d prefer to forget). As Dickens wrote a good story, I’d be forced to recommend this film if no others existed, but many others exist.