SCROOGE
1970, Hollywood Classics, 113 min, Dir: Ronald Neame

SCROOGE, 1970, Hollywood Classics, 113 min. Albert Finney is a gleefully wicked Scrooge in this glorious musical adaptation by Leslie Bricusse of Dickens’ ode to brotherhood and the terrible power of karma. Director Ronald Neame was a longtime Dickens veteran, having produced David Lean’s GREAT EXPECTATIONS and OLIVER TWIST; here, he proved himself to be a wonderfully humorous and sympathetic filmmaker in his own right. Co-starring Alec Guinness, Edith Evans and Kenneth More.


TUNES OF GLORY
1960, Janus Films, 106 min, UK, Dir: Ronald Neame

Two Scottish army colonels battle over their very different methods and backgrounds when lower-class Jock Sinclair (Alec Guinness, in one of his favorite performances) is forced to work with upper-crust disciplinarian and bureaucrat Basil Barrow (John Mills). Before long, their philosophical differences threaten the unity of their entire regiment, as a series of minor events sets off a chain reaction in this riveting drama from director Ronald Neame.


OLIVER TWIST (1948)
1948, Park Circus/MGM, 116 min, UK, Dir: David Lean

A startlingly real, atmospheric evocation of childhood terrors and the evils of poverty. Innocent orphan Oliver (John Howard Davies) is shanghaied into a gang of child thieves by blackguard Bill Sykes (a particularly chilling Robert Newton). Alec Guinness’ masterful, almost unrecognizable performance as the Jewish kingpin of boy thieves, Fagin, led to unexpected problems when the film was denounced as anti-Semitic by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith; in Berlin, rioters tore the theater apart where the film was shown, and its release was delayed for three years in the U.S. to let tensions ease. “OLIVER TWIST moves forward in staccato bursts, propelled by coiling tensions and by outbursts of sudden, brutish violence. … This is possibly David Lean’s wildest movie, certainly his darkest and arguably his best.” -Al McKee, Film Comment.


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