Version one is based in nineteenth century London. Society is shown to be split into two very different classes, the poor workers and beggars and the rich businessmen. There are many people dressed in ragged clothing that look thin and dirty. However, these people also tend to look cheerful and happy when compared to Scrooge. He is shown wearing black clothing, looking very intimidating. He has a very serious look on his face. This reflects the idea portrayed in both versions that wealth does not give you happiness, in fact, much the opposite.
Buildings in London are dirty and old, such as Scrooge’s office where a window cleaner has to wipe his windows just to look inside. Likewise, in Version two, set in modern day London, the flats that Scrooge rents out to people are also old, dirty, but this filth has been modernised to show graffiti, and with a broken lift. Poverty is shown in both films quite differently, firstly, in version 1, the busy London streets, not only show a thriving community, but also show a high population density with lots of overcrowding.
Collectors come to scrooge’s office asking for money for the poor and Scrooge bluntly refuses and ignores them. We are told in version 1 that those in poverty end up in sick houses and children work in factories. In version 2, poverty is shown more often but to less serious extent, there is a single mother who cannot pay her rent, and an elderly couple who are trying to save money for a hip replacement operation, and there is a big issue seller outside a pub.
Likewise, as in version 1, Scrooge does not care about those in poverty, and he chases off homeless children staying around his flats. Society is more modern in version 2, as we would expect. Marley was coloured, representing a more multi-cultural community. The buildings have changed from old town houses, such as the one Scrooge was living in to modern flats or `vertical villages’. In version 1, Scrooge lives in a grand Victorian house, but he keeps it cold and dark, likewise, in version 2, Scrooge lives in a very modern looking flat, but it is also mostly in darkness and coldness. At one point in the film, Scrooge warms his hands up on a gas cooker.
Both films show carol singers around Christmas time, showing a tradition that is present in both societies. In version 2, it becomes apparent that Marley was murdered, this is shown by the police notices and Scrooges dream at the beginning of the film, this shows a higher crime rate and a more murderous modern society. The role of Marley differs greatly between the two productions. In version 1, we are lead to believe that Marley was an equal business partner to Scrooge, and his name on the sign that still hangs outside his office shows this.
In this production, the director has remained more loyal to Dickens’s script by keeping Marley white, having died by natural causes, showing his funeral and making him appear to Scrooge through a door knocker. In version 2, Marley is coloured, to reflect a more modern, multi-cultural society. Marley had been murdered in version 2, and although we remain unsure of why he was murdered throughout the play, we suspect that scrooge had something to do with it. This is because he seems anxious to get rid of all police posters asking for public help into police enquiries.
Marley appears to scrooge through a poster when scrooge is about to burn it. His funeral is not shown in the play, but instead police `can you help’ notices acknowledge his death Cold weather is more prominent in version 1, at Marleys funeral and in the street scenes, there is crisp white snow covering the streets and rooftops. This effects how we view the different members of society, it makes beggars look poorer and makes Scrooge look more dominant in his long black cape and his cane. Bob Cratchet warms his fingers on candlelight when Scrooge won’t let him put any more coal on the fire.
Throughout the production, both in the church, and Scrooges office it is very dark, the dirty windows do not let much light in. However, out in the streets, everyone else wears lighter, brighter clothing which makes Scrooge look like a shadow as he strolls past. The strong emphasis on the cold, icy and foggy weather in version 1 is a metaphor for the inside of Scrooge, his cold personality is reflected throughout many situations in the film, such as when the charity collectors visit and when Bob Cratchit puts more coal on the fire.
Scrooge also appears to have no emotions, when he asks his nephew why he got married, and when he replies he laughs `Because you fell in love?! ‘ When Bob Cratchit asks for Christmas day off to be with his family, Scrooge agrees reluctantly. In the second version, light is more emphasised, at the beginning, we see Christmas lights before the camera pans over to the block of flats that scrooge owns which are very dark and dirty, similar to the scrooges office in version 1. In both versions, scrooge lives in a expensive, and dark home, he makes himself suffer by not lighting his home just to save money.