The Right to Be Happy

The Right to Be Happy is a 1916 American silent Christmas fantasy film directed by Rupert Julian, based on the novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Starring 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
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Directed byRupert Julian
Screenplay byElliott J. Clawson
Based onA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
CinematographyStephen Rounds
Distributed byUniversal
Release date
  • December 15, 1916 (1916-12-15)
Running time
5 reels
(est. 50 minutes)
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles


The film is a retelling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, recounting the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Rupert Julian. Scrooge is an elderly miser and curmudgeon. Alone in his room on Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley Harry Carter. 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, who 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 spirit Scrooge meets is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Tom Figee). This figure 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 passed. Next, Scrooge discovers he is the man whose death is celebrated.

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 Scrooge; he transforms into a kinder, gentler man full of Christmas spirit.


Actor Role
Rupert JulianEbenezer Scrooge
John CookBob Cratchit
Claire McDowellMrs. Cratchit
Frankie LeeTiny Tim
Harry CarterJacob Marley
Emory JohnsonFred, Scrooge's Nephew
Francelia BillingtonScrooge's Sweetheart
Lydia Yeamans TitusMrs. Fezziwig
Wadsworth HarrisThe Ghost of the Past
Richard L'EstrangeThe Ghost of the Present
Tom FigeeThe Ghost of the Future
Roberta WilsonCaroline

Preservation status

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


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