If this Christmas you have no gathering or party to attend, you could do worse than to watch a hokey Christmas movie and have a good cry (if you are crying already, it’s probably not the good kind and you should replace it with this). The best-known Christmas weepers are too well-worn to do much good, but the ’51 British A Christmas Carol (alternately known as Scrooge but not to be confused with the 1970 musical monstrosity of that name starring an appallingly bad Albert Finney), played in suitably Victorian melodramatic style with the grand Alastair Sim at the lead, is a very reliable source of sentimental tears. This guide, timed to the VCI Entertainment DVD release (from which you should choose the black-and-white version, of course), is provided so that you’ll know when to refresh the Kleenex box. Happy blubbering!
1:44 Opening credits, when they play “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
8:10 When Tiny Tim is admiring all the toys he can never have in a shop window.
17:45 When Scrooge says it’s all humbug and Marley’s ghost screams him out of his chair.
19:25 “Business! Mankind was my business!”
20:50 When Marley shows Scrooge the ghosts of men who “seek to interfere for good in human matters and have lost their power… forever.”
24:51 When you see miserable, lonely young Scrooge alone in the schoolhouse.
25:26 When Scrooge’s sister Fan walks through his embrace.
34:50 “Forgive me, Fan! Forgive me, Fan! Forgive me, Fan!”
49:52 “Look at your face, Ebenezer — the face of a wrenching, grasping, scraping, covetous old sinner.”
55:27 When Scrooge asks the Spirit of Christmas Present to spare Tiny Tim.
57:52 When Scrooge has to hear Crachit defend him to his family.
1:00:01 “Did you not cut yourself off from your fellow beings when you lost the love of that gentle creature?”
1:01:50 “This girl is want, this boy is ignorance. Beware them both, but most of all beware this boy.” “But have they no refuge, no resource?” “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”
1:04:00 When you catch on that Tiny Tim is dead.
1:06:08 When the Crachits all start crying.
1:13:15 When Scrooge falls with a ghastly cry upon his own grave.
1:17:54 When Scrooge gives Mrs. Dilber a Christmas present.
1:21:56 “Can you forgive a pig-headed old fool for having no eyes to see with nor ears to hear with all these years?”
1:25:04 “I haven’t taken leave of my senses, Bob; I’ve come to them.”
1:26:20 When you see Tiny Tim whole and well running to his Uncle Scrooge — “God bless us, every one.”
1:26:50 The film ends and you find yourself in a different world, in which cues are not so well-planned, morals not so succinctly expressed nor so easily understood, and souls not so quickly redeemed.