On Thursday, December 15 at 7pm, the Northport Historical Society and Museum will host a “Movie at the Museum” night airing Alastair Sim’s A Christmas Carol. Below is a write-up of the Iconic Scrooge, by the society’s Education Coordinator, Carol Taylor.
No sooner have we digested our turkey dinner does our attention turn to the December holidays. Many of us have grown up with the perennial story of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ classic story A Christmas Carol. There have been many renditions of the famed redemption tale. None compares to the 1951 British film starring Alastair Sim.
The film was titled Scrooge in Britain and was changed to A Christmas Carol for American audiences. Considered one of his best performances, Alastair Sim’s Ebenezer Scrooge finesses the character so that his ultimate redemption seems not only plausible but welcome. Yes, Sim’s Scrooge is at first greedy, unfriendly, and devoid of sentimentality. Through the nightmare visits of spirits Past, Present and Future we view Ebenezer Scrooge’s pathetic life of “hum bug.”
The Spirit of Christmas Past replays Ebenezer’s sad start in life. His mother died during his childbirth. His father sent away his unwanted son, trapping him in a sterile boarding school. The only glimmer of sunshine came to young Ebenezer through his visits with his beloved sister, Fan, played by Carol Marsh. Once she dies, Ebenezer’s heart hardens further.
As a young man, Ebenezer Scrooge worked for his father, who models the pursuit of wealth over all other things. The preoccupation with ambitious greed destroys Ebenezer’s loving relationship with his fiancé, Alice. This third and final female loss seals Ebenezer’s toxic personality that frames the rest of his lonely and miserable adult life.
It’s no wonder Ebenezer Scrooge became a heartless curmudgeon! Yet, Alistair Sim’s portrayal invites empathy.