Friday, December 2, 2016

Dec 2 - Scrooge (1935)

This is the first feature-length, sound adaptation. It was a pretty fine job, I was ready for the earlier ones to be rough or boring, but I was pretty entertained. The direction was interesting and creative. The cinematography was good, it feels very grimy and smoky but never murky and hard to follow. I like this Bob Cratchit and it was the first time we really get a Tiny Tim, and he was pretty sad and sympathetic. Music was used sparingly but effectively.

It wasn't perfect, I didn't love Scrooge, he often came across more than a little hammy, theater actor-ish. Certainly after seeing the special effects pulled off in the silent versions, not actually seeing most of the ghosts was quite strange. Jacob Marley appears as a face on the door knocker, but not in full body form when talking with Scrooge. The camera "follows" an invisible Marley as he interacts with a few things in Scrooge's room and speaks to him. No broken jaw, no chains. Lame. The ghost of Christmas Past is a white smear, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is a black smear, only the Ghost of Christmas Present is an actual human in costume standing next to Scrooge. Many of the great, memorable lines from the novel and later movies aren't included.

But all in all, a surprisingly great start. I'll be curious to see how the movies I'm more familiar with compare to these first time watches, right now they all kinda feel exactly the same in my head and I'm wondering how unique they'll end up. I also think I might go insane after a few weeks of this.

Watch it on YouTube

It's not phenomenal but it's easily better than the silent movies. It's light competition right now and I suspect it will hover around the bottom of the list as it grows.
  1. Scrooge (1935)
  2. A Christmas Carol (1910)
  3. Scrooge, or, Marley's Ghost (1901)

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