By: Liam Rutledge
Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carol. Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who remind him of the joys of Christmas. There have been hundreds of interpretations since the original novel was released in 1843. The first movie adaptation came in 1938. Directed by Edwin L. Marin, this film introduced many to the story of Scrooge, and was a hit with audiences, sitting at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes today.
There have been many different versions of that film released since, but quite possibly the most unique is 1988s Scrooged, starring Bill Murray.
Scrooged takes the classic story of Ebeneezer Scrooge and adapts it to appeal to the modern 1980s audience. Murray plays Frank Cross, a cold and unempathetic tv executive, who is producing his own adaptation of A Christmas Carol. His unforgiving nature causes him to push away the love of his life, Claire Phillips, played by Karen Allen. But when Cross fires an employee on Christmas Eve, he is visited by three ghosts who give him a chance to right his wrongs and get his life back on track.
Murray brings a delightfully crude yet silly energy to his character, being the clear stand out in the movie. There is a scene late in the movie, after Cross has realized the error of his ways, in which he stands in front of a camera on live tv, and lists off many of his problems with the commercialized Christmas of today.
Not only is this scene made incredibly fun through Bill Murray’s goofy delivery, but it also presents interesting commentary about what Christmas has become to many today. The movie takes the timeless themes of A Christmas Carol, about kindness and love, and adds themes of self reflection and respect in a more modern context. Combine that with a heart-warming romance, hilarious ghosts, and Santa with a machine gun, and you get an often overlooked classic.
Perhaps it's time to take a trip back and remember this movie of Christmas past, for the betterment of our Christmas future.