SCROOGE & MARLEY (2012) – MERRY CHRISTMAS! Balladeer’s Blog’s Christmas Carol-A-Thon for 2016 comes to a close with a look at this gay-oriented adaptation of the Dickens classic. It’s also a musical, but unfortunately the songs struck me as being as blah as most of Leslie Bricusse’s output in Scrooge (1970).
Previously I’ve examined Ebbie, which is a business-woman themed version of the story, John Grin’s Christmas and Christmas is Comin’ Uptown, which are black-themed versions of the story and even See Hear Presents A Christmas Carol, a sign-language and spoken version aimed at the hearing impaired.
Scrooge & Marley is an openly and deliberately gay adaptation of the Dickens story. It often falls into the trap of using its gay narrative as a gimmick rather than a theme but that risk just goes with the territory when a creative team is locked into following a previously mapped-out storyline.
The film is set in the fairly present day and opens up at Ebenezer Scrooge’s gay nightclub called Screws. I was hoping it would be called Screwed, to be reminiscent of the porno version of A Christmas Carol titled Ebenezer Screwed. At any rate Scrooge is, as usual, a tight-fisted (as it were) hand at the grindstone and treats his employees horribly. Hell, he even fires them if they tip delivery people out of their own pockets!
Scrooge’s heaviest abuse is reserved for long-suffering Bob Cratchit, whom you might be forgiven for mistaking as Scrooge’s bottom given the nature of this Carol adaptation. Kink isn’t the name of Cratchit’s game, however, and he has a loving male life-partner plus a son they’ve adopted: our story’s Tiny Tim.
Instead of a Nephew Fred, Scrooge & Marley‘s lead character has a Niece Freda (THE Rusty Schwimmer), an out and proud lesbian who has the high spirits expected of the Fred role.
Aged comic actor Tim Kazurinsky portrays Scrooge’s late partner Jacob Marley and brings a nice black-humored element to the role. His performance is sort of like a gay Horror Movie Host from late-night television of long ago. (I know, I’m obsessed with old Movie Host shows.)
Ronnie Kroell plays the Ghost of Christmas Past and is a bit dull, the biggest crime a performer can commit in a flick where everyone else is shooting for Liberace levels of camp. This Ghost shows Scrooge his heart-breaking home life, ending when he got thrown out by his parents when they learned he was gay. Needless to say, that happened at Christmas time.
Cult figure Bruce Vilanch takes on the role of Fezziwig, who runs the eponymous gay bar at which Scrooge works during the Disco age. Fezziwig treated Scrooge and his coworkers far better than Ebenezer treats his own employees. (Insert your own Dick Wilkins joke here.)
Instead of Belle taking up too much screen time as Scrooge’s lost love we get Bill (Christopher Allen) taking up too much screen time as Scrooge’s lost love. To me Belle/ Bill always overstays their welcome I don’t care if it’s an all-bestiality version of A Christmas Carol. As expected, Ebenezer’s single-minded pursuit of money kills the relationship.
The Ghost of Christmas Present is portrayed by Megan Cavanagh, whose fun performance makes you wish Scrooge & Marley had a bigger budget. When this Ghost takes part in a song and dance number featuring beefcake dancers in top hats and bare arms it’s far too cramped to count as a production number. Think of it as a “produ nmbr” instead.
Though I’ll admit Cavanagh overdoes the Jazz Hands move a bit she does get you smiling.
JoJo Baby, often called the Da Vinci version of Divine, was a perfect choice for the Ghost of Christmas Future, as this movie calls the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
I hate to bring up the low budget again but the cheapness of the sets is the greatest failing of Scrooge & Marley. The biggest obstacle to me losing myself in the film was the way nearly every scene looked even more claustrophobic than Jackie Gleason’s apartment in Honeymooners reruns.
Outside of that the movie competently offers a gay-oriented Christmas Carol adaptation which avoids being any more preachy than Dickens himself was with the original story.
Well, that wraps up another Christmas Carol-A-Thon here at Balladeer’s Blog! Be here the Friday after Thanksgiving in 2017 for the start of next year’s edition!
FOR MORE VERSIONS OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/a-christmas-carol-2/