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Thank You Very Much is most likely the song every fan will be singing now that Paramount has brought the 1970 musical SCROOGE ($15) to DVD. This delightful Holiday favorite is a fine adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol, with music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. With a bit of old age makeup, Albert Finney makes an absolutely wonderful Ebenezer Scrooge, plus he is also able to portray the younger versions of the character when visited by Ghost of Christmas Past. Finney perfectly embodies the requisite nastiness of the miserly Scrooge, but gives a heartfelt quality to the performance when Scrooge’s humanity finally begins to emerge. The delightful cast of SCROOGE also features Edith Evans, Kenneth More, Paddy Stone, Michael Medwin, Mary Peach, David Collings, Richard Beaumont, Anton Rodgers and Alec Guinness as Jacob Marley's Ghost.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made SCROOGE available on DVD in a positively terrific looking 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. I marveled at the cleanness of the presentation, which only betrayed the occasional errant blemish- not bad for a film that is more than three decades old. The transfer itself produces an image that is almost always sharp and nicely defined. Some sequences appear a slightly softer than other, but it all depends upon the film’s original cinematography. Colors appear strongly rendered, with the vibrancy and the quality of the hues seemingly a result of SCROOGE being produced at a time when Technicolor was still manufacturing IB prints. Neither chroma noise nor smearing is present to mar the fine color reproduction of this DVD. Blacks appear accurate, as do the whites, plus the image produces smooth contrast. Film grain in occasionally noticeable, but never becomes excessive. Overall, Paramount has produced a marvelous rendering of Oswald Morris’ warm and lovely cinematography. Digital compression artifacts maintain a low profile throughout.

For this release, SCROOGE has been upgraded to a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The mix isn’t aggressive or particularly enveloping, but it is quite good for this particular type of musical material. Surround usage would seem to be primarily relegated to enhancing the musical numbers, by adding modest amounts of orchestral fill to the rear channels. The forward soundstage has a nice broad quality, with fine stereo separations for the musical component. Fidelity isn’t at modern levels, but the music always sounds very pleasant and takes amplification without any problems. Dialogue is crisply rendered and always completely understandable. An English Dolby Surround track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles. The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the option of viewing the movie with overture and exit music.

The DVD release of SCROOGE is something that its many fans have been eagerly anticipating since the early days of the format. Paramount has done a truly fine job with the disc, delivering both a terrific looking and fine sounding presentation. If you are a fan, this is a must own DVD. If you have never seen SCROOGE, I still highly recommend picking up the DVD, especially since its bargain price won’t make any significant dents in the holiday budget.



Scrooge (1970)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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