Monday, December 12, 2005


I confess to being a great fan of Ebeneezer Scrooge. But, for me, only the Alistair Simms version will do. There is something about that black and white rendition of the old miser's journey from greed to redemption that seems more real, somehow, than the versions in color, and, certainly more real than the versions that have the characters break into song throughout the story. The stark atmosphere of Scrooge's intense greed and closed heart are made manifest through the lack of color in the picture.

Ebeneezer Scrooge is such an appropriate icon of modern America. He looses everything he tries to gain by greed. Greed and bitterness shut him off from meaningful relationships, and from a meaningful life. He begins to turn bitter when his sister dies in childbirth. His fiance (who is one of the wisest characters in the movie, IMO) breaks up with him when she realizes that she will never take the place of money and possessions in his heart. How many of us would have that kind of intestinal fortitude when face to face with a sure way out of poverty?

The conversation between Scrooge and his nephew Fred typifies the two philosophies.

``A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!'' cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.

``Bah!'' said Scrooge, ``Humbug!''

He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge's, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again.

``Christmas a humbug, uncle!'' said Scrooge's nephew. ``You don't mean that, I am sure.''

``I do,'' said Scrooge. ``Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You're poor enough.''

``Come, then,'' returned the nephew gaily. ``What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough.''

Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said, ``Bah!'' again; and followed it up with ``Humbug.''

``Don't be cross, uncle,'' said the nephew.

``What else can I be,'' returned the uncle, ``when I live in such a world of fools as this Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas. What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will,'' said Scrooge indignantly, ``every idiot who goes about with ``Merry Christmas'' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!''

``Uncle!'' pleaded the nephew.

``Nephew!'' returned the uncle, sternly, ``keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.''

``Keep it!'' repeated Scrooge's nephew. ``But you don't keep it.''

``Let me leave it alone, then,'' said Scrooge. ``Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!''

``There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,'' returned the nephew: ``Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!'' has the entire text of Dickens' A Christmas Carol for your holiday perusal and edification.

CEDMagic has a wonderful series of stills with quotes from the story.

A merry Christmas to you, and God Bless us, everyone!


Carmel said...

I am a fan too! I love that rendition too.
There are many Ebeneezer Scrooges, real ones!!

The Village Idiot said...

My favorite version was a play put on at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. My parents took us to see it every year. This year they got a new director, who changed the thing to portray the start and harsh realities of victorian poverty. It completely took the warmth of family such as the Cratchets out of the play. Twas sad to see... the message of Christmas taken out for a more realistic screenplay.

4HisChurch said...

" There are many Ebeneezer Scrooges, real ones!!"

Ain't that the truth!

4HisChurch said...

I think the 1951 version does a good job of showing some of the harshness of poverty and still maintaining the message of Christmas.

The Village Idiot said...

I think I'll have to figure out how to hook up the VCR and check out the 1951 version if its as good as you say!

4HisChurch said...

I just got a video of the 51 version for $2 at the library--an early Christmas present.

Charley said...

Here here to those that are scrooges! Well said and thank you for brining that to light!
With peace and love,

4HisChurch said...

Some of my "best friends" are scrooges! ;)

Anonymous said...

A Merry Christmas to you, as well, and as Tiny Tim says, "God bless us, every one!"

marco47 said...

His name is Alastair Sim.

4HisChurch said...

You're right. On further research I did discover that, thanks.

Dymphna's favorite quotes

"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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