Albert Finney's portrayal in Ronald Neame's Scrooge may lack the dignity of some other attempts at Dickens' miserly spoilsport, notably that of George C. Scott in Clive Donner's 1984 made-for-TV version of A Christmas Carol. In fact, sniveling and stammering in his sloppy nightshirt, one might mistake Finney for a mentally unbalanced homeless man howling at the moon. But something about the performance, not to mention the songs by Leslie Bricusse, really registers, transforming this grainy production into a family favorite televised at holiday time for years after its theatrical release. One of the triumphs of the Oscar-nominated art direction is that it gives Dickens' London a shabby, lived-in quality, carried over several time periods. The most effective is the portentous future, hosted by a shrouded, faceless figure, who remains quiet as the grave while pointing a skeletal finger toward the images of Scrooge's destiny. The rousing songs are sometimes an odd counterpoint to this gritty design, but they're also probably the ingredient that elevated this adaptation to a level of popularity above the many others that exist.