Who is the best Jacob Marley?

Whether you read the book or simply watch A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens every Christmas there is no getting around the point that likely the juiciest role in the whole story is that of Jacob Marley.

Think about it — he’s a mournful, lost, tortured soul suffering through the depths of hell that has come back to torment his former partner and friend. How can any actor resist such a role?

At day #136 in the Countdown to Christmas we have to ask — who is the best Jacob Marley?

We suggest this 1984 version of Jacob Marley played by Frank Finlay, from the production starring George C. Scott as Scrooge:

This is one truly psychotic Jacob Marley. We think it is a good representation of the ghost story Charles Dickens hoped A Christmas Carol would become. You gotta love a guy that can make General Patton crap his pants.

5 thoughts on “Who is the best Jacob Marley?

  • August 11, 2015 at 7:04 am

    He certainly conveys that Marley is a tortured soul … but his voice sounds like a ranting Dalek!
    My favorite Marley is in “The Stingiest Man in Town” (the kinescope, not the cartoon). Robert Weede SINGS his warning to Scrooge: “You Wear a Chain.”

  • August 11, 2015 at 10:32 am

    I rather liked Leo G. Carroll in the 1938 version. It is the version I watched as a small child.

  • February 14, 2016 at 4:16 am

    Definitely Frank Finlay’s portrayal for me. I’ve seen many versions and this role was made for him. Superb.

  • December 25, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Finlay was a bit over dramatic for my taste. I humbly suggest Alec Guinness in Scrooge. His entrance body movements alone leave a lasting impression.


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