On Sunday, Dec. 3 beginning at 1 pm, the Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF) will host a special screening of “Scrooge” (1951), free and open to the general public. The event will be held in the Winn Room at the Coronado Public Library.
Following the screening, the 2024 Student Classic Film Series schedule will be announced. The series will screen two curated film classics each month from February through May 2024. The Student Classic series is designed to expose public and private High School and Middle School Students and homeschoolers to the greatest motion pictures made by acknowledged masters of the movie-making craft during The Golden Age of Hollywood.
A Christmas Carol, Dickens’ timeless tale of redemption, is the most well-known Christmas story in literary, dramatic, and cinematic history. Many critics, including our friend Leonard Maltin, argue that Brian Desmond Hurst’s 1951 Scrooge film version of the Dickens’ novella has never been equaled. The screenplay by Hurst and Noel Langley (one of the three screenwriters of The Wizard of Oz). Hurst’s adroitly paced direction, and C. M. Pennington-Richards’ hauntingly stark black and white cinematography, completely convince the audience of Scrooge’s spiritual transformation from bitter, friendless curmudgeon, into a man so overcome by gratitude and joy, simply to find himself alive on Christmas morning, that he dances a jig in his nightshirt, gleefully shouting, “Merry Christmas!” to all within earshot. Scrooge then joyfully begins his journey of making amends to all those he once mockingly dismissed with his signature “Bah Humbug.”
The lion’s share of credit for the film’s enduring emotional impact belongs to the actor who portrays Scrooge, Alastair Sim. Sim “inhabits” the role deftly, playing the miserly scenes with perfect notes of cynical humbug. Sim’s Scrooge is a man utterly alone and well-satisfied to be so; a man who, by choice, has no use for other people. Sim never suggests Scrooge is an evil man, but, rather, a man whose spirit has been gravely, though not irreparably, warped by the vagaries of life. Without the subtlety and restraint Sim brings to the role, Scrooge’s dawn of spiritual awareness and joyful redemption in the final act wouldn’t be as believable, as moving, or as memorable. The final scenes of Scrooge walking the streets of London with Tiny Tim are images you will carry in your heart throughout the holidays.
All are invited to join us for this perfect “table setter” for the Advent season; and as Tiny Tim reminds us, “God bless us, everyone!”