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The Right to Be Happy is a 1916 American silent drama directed by Rupert Julian, based on the novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The film stars Rupert Julian and Claire McDowell. The photoplay was produced by the Bluebird Photoplays and released on December 15, 1916, by Universal.[1][2]

The Right to Be Happy
The Right to Be Happy.jpg
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Directed byRupert Julian
Produced byBluebird Photoplays
Written by
CinematographyStephen Rounds
Distributed byUniversal
Release date
  • December 1916 (1916-December)
Running time
5 reels
LanguageSilent (English intertitles


The film is a retelling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The movie version recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Rupert Julian. Scrooge is an elderly miser and curmudgeon. Scrooge is alone in his room on Christmas eve. The ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley Harry Carter appears. Marley’s ghost tells Scrooge three spirits will visit him over the next three nights.

Scrooge's first visit is by the ghost of Christmas past Wadsworth Harris. The Ghost shows Scrooge's development from a young boy to a young man. He sees how he started to become a miser.

Then, the ghost of the Christmas Present (Richard L'Estrange) appears. The ghost shows Scrooge how the Cratchit family has fared. He finds out, unless the future changes, the Cratchit's disabled son, Tiny Tim Frankie Lee, will die.

The last ghost Scrooge meets is the ghost of the Christmas yet to come (Tom Figee). This ghost shows Scrooge scenes of people discussing someone's death. Nobody in the room seems concerned about the dead person. Scrooge doesn't know who the dead man is. Then, he finds out Tiny Tim has also died. Next, Scrooge discovers he is the man who has passed. Many people in the room seem happy Scrooge died.

He vows to change his ways and become a new person. Finally, Scrooge wakes up at home and finds out all the spiritual visits happened one night. He also finds out today is Christmas Day.

Each visit positively changed Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge transforms into a kinder, gentler man full of Christmas spirit.


Actor Role
Rupert Julian Ebenezer Scrooge
John Cook Bob Cratchit
Claire McDowell Mrs. Cratchit
Frankie Lee Tiny Tim
Harry Carter Jacob Marley
Emory Johnson Fred, Scrooge's Nephew
Francelia Billington Scrooge's Sweetheart
Lydia Yeamans Titus Mrs. Fezziwig
Wadsworth Harris The Ghost of the Past
Richard L'Estrange The Ghost of the Present
Tom Figee The Ghost of the Future
Roberta Wilson Caroline

Preservation Status

According to the Library of Congress website, no copies of this movie survive.[3]

Cast Gallery


  1. ^ "The Right to Be Happy".
  2. ^ "The Right to Be Happy".
  3. ^ "The Right to Be Happy / Rupert Julian [motion picture]".

External links