“Scrooge” (1970) starring Albert Finney and Alec Guinness is chronologically, the eighth of twenty film adaptations of Charles Dickens’ classic tale “A Christmas Carol.” When a story is being constantly retold for every generation, there must be a difference in style and form to keep the new and old audience interested. “Scrooge” takes the story in the direction of a musical with beautifully choreographed song and dance numbers, and it could arguably be the best adaptation of the story.
For those who are not familiar with “A Christmas Carol,” the plot is about a misanthropic banker named Ebenezer Scrooge who spends his life day in and day out counting and recounting his money in a drafty old building. He is so scrupulous with his money that he doesn’t spare a lot of it to pay his unusually cheerful employee Bob Cratchit who has a large family to feed. On Christmas Eve, Ebenezer is visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley, his deceased bank partner. Jacob warns Ebenezer of being visited by three ghosts who will persuade him to change his life’s course before it’s too late.
At first, Albert Finney refused the title role. It was offered and turned down by Richard Harris and Rex Harrison before Finney was offered the role again. This time, he accepted it. At the time of filming, Albert Finney was just thirty-four years old when he played the infamous character of Ebenezer Scrooge. When The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge back to his youth, Finney is revealed as what he really looks like without the fantastic efforts of the film’s make-up and hair department to transform Finney into the older Scrooge.
"Scrooge" received four Oscar nominations including in the Best Music category for Original Song - "Thank You Very Much" written by Leslie Bricusse and Best Original Song Score. Amongst the 1971 Golden Globe nominations, "Scrooge" received five with Albert Finney winning in the Best Motion Picture Actor – Musical or Comedy category.
Everything is superb in this musical version of "A Christmas Carol." When viewing the uncut, unedited version of the film, the scene where the Grim Reaper leads Ebenezer into hell is particularly frightening. Out of all of the songs performed in the film, I guarantee “Thank You Very Much” will get stuck in your head for days after viewing “Scrooge.”