For this very merry installment of Music Movie Video, we will be taking a look at Annie Lennox and Al Green’s cover of Jackie DeShannon’s 1968 hit “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” that was recorded for the soundtrack to the Bill Murray Christmas comedy Scrooged. The movie is a comedic riff on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that stars Murray as a humbugging TV exec who is visited by three ghosts who help him rediscover his long-hidden humanity and feelings for old flame Karen Allen. Because Scrooged has both darkly comedic scenes and an uplifting finale straight out of It’s a Wonderful Life, it has been criticized and wrongly dismissed by some as an uneven farce that is tonally schizophrenic. The film was originally planned to be a much darker affair, and the taming of the screenplay by studio execs and director Richard Donner resulted in bitter feelings from co-writer Michael O’Donoghue (best known for his work on Saturday Night Live and the uniquely oddball Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video). Sadly, O’ Donoghue died in 1994, and the original draft of the script — co-written by Mitch Glazer — has never turned up online. There is still plenty of dark humor to be found in the completed film, but one has to wonder what sorts of mouse-stapling antics Murray’s Frank Cross character would have been up to if the original vision of Scrooged made it to the big screen. Regardless, the finished product has become a contemporary holiday classic thanks in no small part to the great performances of Murray, Allen and John Glover, who steals several scenes as “L.A. slimeball” network executive Brice Cummings. Then there’s the memorable closing musical number, which is, after all, the whole point of this article in the first place. So sit back, relax, and let Annie and Al put a little love in your heart.
As a bonus, here’s the film’s trailer:
And here’s an interview with Murray filmed around the time of the film’s release: