Sunday, December 09, 2018
“I Was a Boy Here!” | Alastair Sim (1971)
Richard Williams' animated version does have a transition scene between Scrooge's bedroom and the countryside, but it's quick and super cool. The Spirit takes Scrooge's hand and leads him towards the camera, which lingers on Scrooge's face as the background strobes around him and we see city rushing by. There's no music or sound except for some bird wings just before the images settle on Scrooge in the country. It's surreal and jarring, but still suggestive that a flight has taken place.
This Scrooge has been relatively humble and compliant since partway through Marley's visit and that continues here. When the Spirit asks Scrooge what that is on his cheek, Scrooge wipes away a tear and says that it's nothing, but he doesn't expect the ghost to actually believe him.
As the ghost explains that they're witnessing unconscious shadows of the past, the scene becomes the schoolhouse. The children are already outside, dancing together in circles. There are both girls and boys, so maybe they aren't actually students. I don't know much about Victorian boarding schools, but I've never imagined them to be co-educational where gender is concerned.
The Spirit mentions the "solitary child neglected by his friends" and the scene shifts to inside the school where Scrooge sits reading alone in a room. We can't see the title of the book he's reading, but above his head dance images of a sultan on horseback, Robinson Crusoe's parrot, and soldiers of some kind. Scrooge wipes his eye again and declares his younger self to be a "poor boy," but we never get a reason for it. The Spirit takes Scrooge immediately from this scene to Fezziwig's warehouse.
There's no mention of Fan, much less Scrooge's father. Knowing that Fred is Scrooge's nephew, we know that Scrooge has to have at least one sibling, but they don't play a part in the story. All we know is that Scrooge was a lonely child for undefined reasons.
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Seems like an interesting version. Haven't seen it still, yet. I should rectify that this year.
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