There aren’t that many festive gay movies. We got Make The Yuletide Gay a couple of years ago and now along comes Scrooge And Marley. To be honest it’s almost a surprise that nobody’s made a LGBT-themed version of A Christmas Carol before. It is, after all, the most adapted single story in the history of cinema (there are more Sherlock Holmes movies, but they’re based on a variety of tales), so the fact there hasn’t been a proper gay take until now has been a bit of an oversight.
But now that we’ve got one, is it any good? Well, yeah, it’s not bad at all.
The film sticks close to Dickens’ original tale but brings things up to date gives it a gay twist. Ebenezer Scrooge (David Pevsner) is the miserly owner of a rather staid nightclub and is known to everyone as one of the meanest and most unpleasant men around. He fires his staff for handing delivery men tips from their own pocket and treats his underling Bob Cratchit (The Lair’s David Moretti) with absolute disdain.
On Christmas Eve he’s visited by the ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marley, who tells him he must change his ways and will be visited by three spooks during the night. Through them we see how he was thrown out of his home by his homophobic father but found a new lease on life in the hedonistic gay world of the 1970s. He finds a boyfriend and goes into business with Marley, but soon he begins to become meaner and meaner. Can he ever find redemption?
Although you might expect a huge amount of changes to Dickens’ story to make it gayer, Scrooge & Marley sticks remarkably close to the original, but with slight alterations. His nephew Fred becomes lesbian niece Freda (Rusty Schwimmer), Bob Crachit gets a boyfriend and Tiny Tim is one of his adopted children, while Scrooge’s mentor Fezziwig becomes a gay disco owner who puts people before profit. All that may sound very different but it’s actually not that far at all from Dickens’ tale. Indeed there are moments when it might have been worth deviating a little more, as while the film suggests homophobia and withdrawal of family support from some gay people as a reason behind Scrooge’s meanness, it doesn’t really go too far with it.
Largely though it’s a fun take on the tale, with a tendency to randomly burst into song and tell its familiar story with humour, while keeping things moving along at a fast pace. Scrooge & Marley was obviously made on a limited budget, but it doesn’t show too badly and it makes the most of what it does have. The ghostly makeup and effects may not be amazing, but they work well enough to tell the tale. There’s also a slight tendency towards overacting, but in a fairytale-esque story such as A Christmas Carol, that’s not the worst thing in the world. The really important thing with a movie like Scrooge & Marley is whether it can leave you with a smile on your face, and it certainly succeeds at that.
If you fancy renting or buying Scrooge & Marley online, you can do so through the video-on-demand player below.
Overall Verdict: A fun take on the classic tale with a gay twist. Sticking pretty close to Dickens’ original it retains the warmth and heart of the story, while bringing it up to date.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac