Scrooge; or Marley's Ghost Poster

Scrooge; or Marley's Ghost (1901)

Short | Drama | Fantasy
Rayting:   5.6/10 441 votes
Country: United Kingdom
Language: None | English
Release date: November 1901

It's Christmas Eve. The miser Scrooge and his assistant Bob Cratchit finish their work in the office and go home. When Scrooge is going to open his front door, he sees the face of Marley's ghost in the door knocker. Inside he takes o

Director: Walter R. Booth

Writer:

Stars: , and

 

Movie Trailer

User Reviews

jacobjohntaylor1 27 November 2015

This is a very good movie. It is very scary. It also well written. 1951 version of A Christmas carol is better. But still this a great film. A miser is hunted by the dead sprite of an old friend on Christmas eve. This one best ghost stories ever. It is also on of the best moral stories ever. It is a classic. I enjoy the book a little more. But still this is a great movie. This movie is a must see. It has great acting. It also has a great story line. It also has great special effects. I do not know any of the actors but they are good. This is a great fantasy movie. It is a hidden classic. This a great movie. The 1986 version of A Christmas carol is better. But still this a great movie.

Cineanalyst 4 January 2008

Nowadays, we often take for granted the approach, grammar and techniques that make up self-contained narrative movies. This seems to have been a natural advancement, but it was actually a difficult problem to early filmmakers. Many hesitated to even edit together spatially separate shots to tell a story for concerns that it would seem discontinuous. In "Scrooge; or Marley's Ghost", Walter Booth and R.W. Paul approached this problem by using a story that a general audience already knew, but abridged it, explained some finer points in the intertitles and packaged it within the tableaux style. Perhaps, a lecturer would even provide further clarification during an exhibition. Several other filmmakers tried this as well, including Cecil Hepworth with "Alice in Wonderland" (1903) and Edwin S. Porter with "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1903). The earliest and most common films of this kind, however, were the passion plays. Another early story film James White's "Love and War" (1899) was accompanied by explanatory song. This kind of filmic storytelling soon became outdated in comparison to, but for a time coexisted with, the story film, especially the chase films, which established continuity editing. Of course, novels would still be abridged, intertitles would occasionally do too much of the work, and the tableaux style continued in some places, but films became self-contained narratives. Therefore, this film is outdated, but it does have some interesting aspects.

This is perhaps the earliest screen adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". Apparently, there were earlier film versions of other Dickens' stories, but according to the British Film Institute, this is the earliest that survives. Ewan Davidson for the BFI further adds that it was based on a play by J.C. Buckstone, which like the film, dispensed with the different ghosts for a condensed vision provided by Marley's ghost. Additionally, Dickens, with this book, was one of the more important 19th Century writers to invent the family-oriented, charitable and gift-giving Christmas holiday that we know today. Likewise, this film is an early example of a Christmas film released during the season.

This was an elaborate film for 1901; originally, it supposedly contained 13 scenes. What remains is less than five minutes with about six scenes in their entirety and a brief glimpse of another scene. In what remains, there are some novel techniques for the time. There are multiple exposure shots for the ghosts, but this effect had already been done in previous films; this is, however, the earliest instance that I've seen of using the multiple exposure effect for overlapping images with title cards. This is also an early use of title cards in general, although they had appeared less elaborately in a few earlier films, including "How It Feels to Be Run Over" (1900). Furthermore, this is the first instance I've seen of the wipe, which transitions between shots. Dissolves are also used, which is a transition effect that Georges Méliès had already established in his films. Scenes are also tinted.

utgard14 25 September 2017

Early adaptation of the famous Dickens tale. I believe it's the earliest film version (that survived, at least). IMDb lists the runtime as 11 minutes but the only versions I could find were 3 minutes and change. They cram a lot into that 3 minutes. Points for that but I can't imagine any viewer who wasn't familiar with the story knowing what was going on. There are a few title cards but, again, unless you know the story already they don't explain much. So you have this guy being tormented by Christmas spirits with little explanation. There's clearly a lot missing. Still, the effort is good for its time and limitations and some of the technical stuff is impressive.

Kirpianuscus 4 June 2020

The only problem is when you understand be a half of film. Decent in each aspect, reasonable adaptation, great in details and message, not bad craft and, sure, theatrical at whole. But not bad. Short, pieces of an old age of cinema, testimony of a very old world.

lee_eisenberg 2 October 2014

The oldest surviving cinematic adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" is a very truncated version to the point that the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future don't even appear. Jacob Marley shows Ebenezer Scrooge what the latter needs to know. There's apparently no available info about who the cast is. Only about half the movie exists today, and I watched it on Wikipedia. I understand that a lot of movies during cinema's infancy were adaptations of classic novels so that viewers would already know the story and there would be limited need for intertitles.

Aside from being the oldest surviving adaptation of Dickens's classic novel, there's nothing particularly special about "Scrooge; or Marley's Ghost". It's actually based more on J.C. Buckstone's stage adaptation "Scrooge". I'll forgive it for looking like it does - the background looks painted - since movies were just getting off the ground. My favorite adaptation of Dickens's novel remains "Scrooged", starring Bill Murray as a greedy TV exec (one of the lines describes a TV ad as "the Manson family Christmas").

Anyway, it's an OK movie.

boblipton 1 September 2006

Although the IMDb listing would have you believe this movie is 11 minutes in length, the DVD version of it as issued by the British Film Institute in 2006 times in at about three minutes --- and there isn't time enough to tell the story in any meaningful way unless you know it -- stick with the 1951 version starring Alastair Sim is my advice.

Nonetheless, this movie is interesting, because it may be the earliest use of titles I have ever seen in the movies. Although in coming decades movie titles would expand into dialogue, and the writing of concise and witty titles into a fine art, at this stage, the titles are actually just that: brief chapter titles, describing the scene you are about to see. There are four of them.

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