Brian Desmond Hurst and Alastair Sim‘s A Christmas Carol (released as Scrooge in England) is easily the best adaptation of Charles Dickens 1843 novella. United Artists handled the U.S. release. Pic “was originally slated to be shown at Manhattan’s Radio City Music Hall as part of their Christmas attraction, but the theatre management decided that the film was too grim and did not possess enough family entertainment value to warrant an engagement at the Music Hall.”
If you ask me the Music Hall guys of ’51 were made of the same censorious, rigid-minded stuff that propelled those awful people in England to condemn that recent “Santa gets Covid” NHS Charities Together commercial.
The scene in which the miserable, ghoulish ghost of Jacob Marley (Michael Hordern) pays a late-night visit to Scrooge’s London home….this is the bit that convinced Music Hall management to spare the kiddies. Particularly the moment (beginning at 3:40) when Scrooge calls Marley’s apparent presence a silly illusion. At 3:50 Horden rises to his feet, shakes his clanking iron chains and howls like a banshee — straight out of a Hammer horror film.