Before I start this is another movie that was colorized at the library. Colorization of classic black and white films is an absolute atrocity. You lose all the shadows, light, nuances the cinematographer and director worked so hard to get. Instead you get something that looks drawn on and adds nothing to the story.
To me it is as offensive as if I were to go up to a Van Gogh and say ‘I don’t like how you can’t see the images completely. I’m going to fix it’. Let the artists visions stand as they created it. Do not alter it!!!
I would rather not watch a movie than see it in a colorized version. I thought that was over with VHS tapes but I’ve learned from this project that it continues. It’s outrageous!
I’m nearing the end of my Scrooge series so if there are versions you would like me to review let me know. Tomorrow I am going to see it at the local theater- Hale Center Theater Orem and greatly looking forward to that. They do a great job and the man has been playing Scrooge for over a decade and is better than any film version I have seen.
Let’s talk briefly about the 1935 version with Seymour Hicks. We have already reviewed a version with Hicks in my review of the silent movies.In the 19113 version Hicks plays Scrooge as a violent character who looks like a bum, more of a Frankenstein creature than a businessman.
Here that is a tempered a bit but we still have the rumpled hair and the messy look.
This is not a very successful movie but it isn’t terrible so if you are curious go for it. Otherwise skip.
Scrooge- Seymour Hicks is a grumpy, Frankenstein kind of creature here but not as intensely violent as in 1913. He keeps the same expression throughout the movie and I didn’t get a feeling of change or redemption.
Donald Cathrop is very good as Bob Cratchit. They show Tim’s body in this version and when Bob is grieving over his son it is moving.
This is one of the few versions that includes the lighthouse/ship carol scene with Present (Stewart is the only other one I remember seeing it in).
They skip over a lot not showing you him and Fan or the Fezziwigs and jump to Belle watching Scrooge not give a loan extension to a young couple. It left me wanting more and wishing they had changed things around.
There is also a strange scene where we see the King and Queen of England dining with their friends with the poor people outside. They then all sing God Save the Queen. It didn’t make any sense for the story except to make British audience members happy I guess.
Another big difference is you don’t see either Present or Future, just a shadow. We know from the earlier silent films that they could make ghosts but chose not too here which is strange? It just doesn’t work.
You don’t see Marley either, just the door open and shut and Scrooge talking to a chair.
Strengths- Some of the cinematography is nice with the black and white shadows. The acting is fine. The music is fine.
Weaknesses- The way they do the ghosts does not work. Scrooge still has that Frankenstein creature look which I don’t like. He’s a businessman and should look like one.
The Pawn Shop scene at the end goes on way too long and feels more like a low grade horror movie than a respected literary adaptation.
So overall I am not a fan of this adaptation. Like I said earlier if you are curious check it out. If not a definite pass.
6 thoughts on “Scrooge 28: Scrooge (Seymour Hicks 1935)”
I think not showing the ghosts is at the very least in interesting idea, even though I agree that it doesn’t work. But for it’s time, it was certainly an unusual move.
True. It was a creative approach.
I agree about the colorisation business. Do you know there were plans to colorise ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, but everyone was against it? Even the colorised Laurel and Hardy short are pretty displeasing.
I thought they did colorize It’s a Wonderful Life. Who knows. Either way it was and is an atrocity. Even if you are okay with people messing up other’s artistry the end product looks terrible. It makes me nuts!
It’s a Wonderful Life was colorized in 1986. Roger Ebert wrote “The worst thing–which has inspired Stewart to testify before a congressional committee and Capra to issue a sickbed plea–is that the movie has been colorized. Movies in the public domain are so defenseless that you could cut one up to make ukulele picks, and who could legally prevent you? And so a garish colorized version–destroying the purity of the classic original black-and-white images–has been seen on cable, is available for local syndication and is sold on cassette.
It is a great irony that the colorized version has been copyrighted, and so many stations are paying a great deal for the rights to an inferior version of a movie that they could show for free in black and white. If I were a local television program director with taste and a love of movies, I would find out when my competitor was going to air his colorized version, and counter-program with the original black-and-white movie, patting myself on the back for a public service. Maybe it could be promoted with a clip of Jimmy Stewart telling Congress, in his inimitable way, ‘I tried to look at the colorized version, but I had to switch it off–it made me feel sick.'”
Thankfully I haven’t seen it on the networks recently and the original Maltese Falcon was aired on PBS this year as well. I remember back when the I Love Lucy episodes aired, I told my aunt I wouldn’t be watching (in response to her asking) because of the colorization, and she admitted that while colorization annoyed her, she had enjoyed watching a colorized version of White Christmas. Naturally I had a lot of fun telling her later that White Christmas was released in TECHNICOLOR. XD
The colorized looks so bad. It’s funny just after I posted my piece my Mom called and I told her I was seeing It’s a Wonderful Life in the theater she said ‘Colorized or black and white?’. Boy she didn’t know she had poked the bear! 😉 I told her if it was colorized I would walk out and I would have . Luckily it was in black and white and everyone at the screening had a wonderful experience. I can’t think of one way color would have added to the experience.
I LOVE that quote from Jimmy Stewart! It makes me feel sick too. It’s not a bad idea to share that quote especially if theaters like Cinemark are doing a classic series like they did last year. I could see that as part of their advertising and it being quite effective. Imagine if before a big budget movie where all the seats are full they have an ad for the Cinemark Classics and we get a 30 second blib about the glorious black and white and how it is better than colorized? That would be awesome and teach so many people.
I love that story about your aunt. Some of the coloring on White Christmas does look a little colorized so I can see why she thought that. Like I said even if it looked flawless I would still have issues. It’s just not right. It makes me wonder if there are films I might have seen colorized and not realized it? I don’t think so but there’s got to be one.
I think even if we spread the message to just people we love it makes a difference so good job with your aunt! 🙂 Merry Christmas!