The Old Miser

Scrooge (1913), also known as Old Scrooge in the states, is the first film to star Sir Seymour Hicks as Ebenezer Scrooge. The trained thespian had been playing the famous miser in stage productions since 1901. So he was already quite familiar with the role. It was directed by original Santa Claus actor Leedham Bantock. As an adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge (1913) is a lot longer than the version from 1910. Though it’s still not feature-length at only 40 minutes long.

The quality is really bad and YouTube seems to be the only place to watch it. Scrooge (1913) reads like the book with excessive intertitles that are straight from the source. There’s background information on Charles Dickens and more time dedicated to Scrooge’s disdain for Christmas. “Bah, Humbug!” is finally shown on-screen along with Tiny Tim saying “God bless us, everyone.” We see Scrooge turn down the poor, turn away his nephew Fred, and mistreat Bob Cratchit.

Like Scrooge, or, Marley’s Ghost, Jacob Marley is the only ghost who shows Scrooge the past, present, and yet to come. Chains are implied, but he’s still a man in a bedsheet. All visions are done at once with a bit more time dedicated to Scrooge’s lost love, the Cratchit family dinner, and cemetery. A reformed Scrooge only imagines himself joining the Cratchits at Christmas. The ending emphasises Scrooge wanting to be a second father to Tiny Tim. Scrooge (1913) hasn’t aged gracefully, but it remains just as good.

Scrooge 1913

Ebenezer Scrooge sees visions of the past

P.S. Being public domain, I’ve supplied the full movie underneath.

2 thoughts on “The Old Miser

  1. I’m surprised a theater actor starred as Scrooge here, most theater performers looked down on film acting in the Silent period as having no substance and all flash. Sir Seymour Hicks truly does an excellent job, even if it is somewhat Pantomime and not what Theater goers saw on the stage. Not as well done as the previous too, but still quite interesting to look at.

    Liked by 1 person

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