Tuesday, December 25, 2012

SCROOGE, OR MARLEY'S GHOST (1901)

It's Christmas and you know what that means; family, presents, and food, but also time for me to review an adaptation of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol". Since this is the first time I'm starting my "12 Days Of Christmas Reviews", I'm going to review the first adaptation of the story called "Scrooge, Or Marley's Ghost" made in 1901. This film is only a few minutes long and some of the footage to the actual film is missing, so this is going to be a very short review.

SCENE 1: EBENEZER SCROOGE

There's really nothing to talk about in this scene. We meet Scrooge, but we see no sign of his greediness nor does he look like a nasty person. In fact, he looks happy letting Bob Cractchitt leave to go home. In a very odd way as well, Bob Cractchitt' looks more like Scrooge than the Scrooge we're looking at. Pointless opening and no character identification what so ever.

SCENE 2:"MARLEY'S GHOST SHOWS SCROOGE VISIONS OF HIMSELF IN CHRISTMASES PAST"


Yes, you read it right. Marley's ghost doesn't send three spirits to help Scrooge, no, it's him who shows Scrooge his Past, Present, and Yet-To-Come. We also have no identification who Marley's Ghost is or who he was in his past life, the only way people would know who he is at the time is if they read the book. Marley by the way, doesn't look scary, he's just a guy wearing a sheet. However, I will give the film credit for the special effects because even though Marley's Ghost is just a guy in a sheet, you can still see right through him; his appearance and disappearance as Scrooge's door knocker was a nice effect and scary for the time; and I love the effect of how he shows Scrooge's past. Oh, and Scrooges past is not identified either.

SCENE 3: "VISIONS OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT. BOB CRACTCHITT AND FRED DRINK TO MISTER SCROOGE"
















We see Cractchitt's family having a great Christmas and I'm going to admit I love the image of the family together with little Tiny Tim and a huge sign that says "God Bless Us Every One", it looks like a Christmas card. Sadly, nothing special is really going on in that scene. When we see Fred drinking to Scrooge, it's only a few seconds long and again we have no identification who Fred is, unless if you read the book. Again. I do like the ghostly effect for Marley's Ghost and Scrooge being invisible.

SCENE 4: "THE CHRISTMAS THAT MIGHT BE. MARLEY'S GHOST SHOWS SCROOGE HIS OWN GRAVE AND THE DEATH OF TINY TIM".
 

Marley's Ghost shows Scrooge's grave and the rest of the footage is gone.  Yup, this is where the copy of the film ends. We don't see much of Tiny Tim's death, nor do we see a reformed Scrooge even though there's nothing wrong with Scrooge in the beginning of the film.

What can I say, it may be the first adaptation of the classic story, but it's also the poorest adaptation as well. It doesn't follow the classic traditional story like most of the future adaptations do; there's zero character identification; and the film only makes sense if you know the story. However, I will give the film credit for the special effects that were made for the film cause they were impressive for it's time and seeing this lost piece of film is like seeing a long lost ancient gem. Is it good, NO, but it's worth a look.

RATING 2/5

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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