Then we establish old London with a shot of the rooftops at night. No narration. The grand orchestral version of "Hark" is replaced with a cheesier version done by street musicians, and that motivates a pan down to Scrooge's office. A natural sequence of events you say but...uhoh...I'm already feeling antsy. Something's gone amiss. But what? The move seems logical enough.
I could go on like this, but instead I'll ask a question: the filmmaker obviously believes the relationship between Scrooge and Cratchit is the central conflict in the film. Do you agree?
And another quetion: Seymour Hicks serves up a Scrooge who's an elderly, one-dimensional miser. Is that really what Dickens had in mind? [Jenny Lerew makes an interesting answer in the comments to the previous post.]
That's a marvelously playful beginning! The beautiful words inform us that this is a story which will be constructed with bricks of virtuoso dialogue and showmanship. The Hicks film attempted to make a conventional drama out of the story. Big mistake! Christmas Carol is a drama alright, but it's also a performance piece, a platform for unforgetable images and wit, a poetic edifice, a vehicle for word music. it's more than drama. All my favorite stories are like that, including cartoon stories.
I like the idea of beginning the story in a social setting, and especially one as formal and institutional as the stock exchange. The setting makes fills us with wonder that mankind can organize itself to accomplish great things, and yet still be moved to celebrate deeply sentimental holidays like Christmas.
The scene also introduces us to Scrooge, who far from being a rigid old miser, is a witty warrior ready to do battle with the sea of idiots he believes surround him. And I like the fact that Sims is a young man playing an old man. The role demands an actor who can plausibly seem to possess boundless energy if only he'd remove the obstacles that confine it.
There's more to say, but I guess that's all there's room for. Soon I'll put up the Theory Corner Store where I'll sell pamphlets covering subjects like this in more detail than I'm able to do here. The price will be low enough that you'll be to afford it even if you're living in a cardboard box, and have to read with a flashlight.