Scrooge (1970)

Film and Plot Synopsis

In this musical adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens’ tale, Albert Finney plays Ebenezer Scrooge, a cold-hearted businessman who hates Christmas and looks down upon anyone who celebrates it. However, when the ghost of his former partner appears to him on Christmas Eve and warns him that he may share his fate of damnation unless he changes his ways, Scrooge begins a magical, musical journey through the past, present, and future that will give the miser a new perspective on life and Christmas.

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‘Scrooge’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Scrooge (1970)In 1860 London on Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge (Albert Finney) is a cold-hearted businessman with an incredibly bad temper and tendency to be a skinflint. Scrooge hates Christmas and everything that it stands for and looks down on anyone who celebrates the holiday, including his own nephew Harry (Michael Medwin). As the film opens, Scrooge rejects his nephew’s invitation to Christmas dinner. Scrooge has a loyal employee by the name of Bob Cratchit (David Collings) who works alongside Scrooge in the freezing counting house. Scrooge reluctantly relents to Cratchit’s request to have the next day, Christmas Day, off from work. As the day ends, Cratchit and his children go shopping and prepare for the celebration of their meager holiday. As Scrooge leaves work, he lambasts two gentlemen (Derek Francis and Roy Kinnear) who are collecting money for charity. He also visits some of his debtors, including Tom Jenkins (Anton Rodgers). During his travels through town, Scrooge is constantly accosted and mocked by street urchins.

Scrooge lives alone with minimal amenities. That night, Scrooge encounters the ghost of his late business partner Jacob Marley (Alec Guinness). Marley warns Scrooge that he needs to repent and except Christmas into his heart or he will be doomed to share his miserable fate in the afterlife. The deceased businessman informs Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts during the night. However, once Marley leaves, Scrooge convinces himself that he imagined the ghost.

Shortly after midnight, Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past (Edith Evans). The Ghost whisks Scrooge to his past and shows the miser a younger version of himself that was placed at a boarding school after Scrooge’s father didn’t want the boy due to his mother’s death in childbirth. A visit from Scrooge’s sister Fan brings a sliver of light into Scrooge’s otherwise dreary existence as she brings him home for a holiday. The Ghost also shows how Scrooge’s unbreakable focus on accumulating wealth as an adult drove a wedge between him and the woman he loved, Isabel Fezziwig (Suzanne Neve), the daughter of Scrooge’s employer Mr. Fezziwig (Laurence Naismith). Scrooge is angered by the visions and dismisses the Ghost as he finds himself back in his empty bed chamber.

How shall I ever understand this world? There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty, and yet, there is nothing it condemns with such severity as the pursuit of wealth. Ebenezer Scrooge (Albert Finney)

Soon after, Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present (Kenneth More). The Ghost shows Scrooge how others keep Christmas. The Ghost takes Scrooge to Bob Cratchit’s house, where Scrooge is surprised to find that his clerk has such a large family. Scrooge watches as the Cratchit family celebrates Christmas with a meager meal made up of goose and pudding. Scrooge takes pity on Bob’s ill son Tiny Tim (Richard Beaumont). The Ghost warns Scrooge that unless things change, Tiny Tim will die which troubles Scrooge. The Ghost then takes Scrooge to Harry’s house for the Christmas party that Scrooge declined to attend. Harry defends his uncle from snide remarks made by his guests. Before the Ghost vanishes, the spirit warns Scrooge that life is short and to do as much as he can in what time he has. Scrooge then finds himself once again alone in his bed chamber.

Finally, Scrooge is confronted with his final apparition, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Paddy Stone) who takes Scrooge into the future. This Ghost shows Scrooge what lies in store the following year. The Ghost shows that Scrooge’s own death will not be mourned by anyone and is actually celebrated by some, including Tom Jenkins. Additionally, the Ghost shows the Cratchit family in mourning, as Tim has died. The Ghost takes Scrooge to the cemetery where he is shown Bob Cratchit morning over Tim’s grave. Scrooge is then shown his own grave in the same cemetery. Overcome with guilt and emotion, Scrooge vows to change his ways and embrace every day as if it was Christmas. The Ghost’s Grim Reaper like appearance causes Scrooge to recoil and fall through his grave into the caverns of Hell. Scrooge is met there once again by Marley, who shows him to his ice-cold office to serve as Lucifer’s personal clerk. Four demons adorn Scrooge with an enormous chain made from his lifetime of past sins.

Suddenly, Scrooge awakens in his own bedroom on Christmas Day. Thrilled to be alive and having a chance to repent, Scrooge begins to make up for the years of being miserly. He ventures out onto the streets of London and begins to spread happiness and joy to its citizens. He goes on a shopping spree, buying food and presents. He runs into Harry and his wife (Mary Peach) and gives them some overdue presents. The couple invites him to their home for Christmas lunch, which he accepts. Scrooge then dresses himself as Father Christmas and delivers a giant turkey, presents, and toys to the Cratchit family. Scrooge reveals his identity to Bob and promises his employee a raise and that he will work to find the best doctors to make Tiny Tim better. Scrooge then frees all his clients from their debts and donates a large amount of money to the two charity collectors that he lambasted the day before. Scrooge ultimately returns to his home to get ready for lunch with Harry and thanks Marley for helping him get a second chance at life.

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Our Rating

National General Pictures released Scrooge on November 5, 1970. Ronald Neame directed the film starring Albert Finney, Alec Guinness, and Edith Evans.

User Rating: 1.9 ( 2 votes)
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