Scrooged by Richard Donner is now a great classic of the Christmas holidays. While the versions of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" are countless and all closely related to the original tale, Scrooged is different.
In 1988, Bill Murray starred as Ebenezer Scrooge in Scrooged, a dark comedic adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." A parody of the classic tale that swaps Victorian-era London for 80s New York, where Bill Murray plays Frank Cross, the industry's meanest TV executive who spends Christmas Eve forcing his staff to work. Three ghosts will visit him to give him lessons about his life. Will Frank be able to save his soul?
In the scene that will precede his encounter with the Ghost of Christmas Past, time is immediately the protagonist.
The meeting had been pre-announced to him by the first Phantom, Francis' predecessor who had once run network television before him. The appointment was set for 12 noon the following day. In a hilarious scene that takes place in a restaurant, Frank (Bill Murray) begins to suffer from hallucinations, believing he sees the ghost, the wall clock strikes 12 o'clock and Bill Murray, or rather Frank Cross, looks at his Audemars Piguet Quantieme 5548 gold ring with perpetual calendar. Curious to note how the calendar is erroneously set on the month of November.
Reference 5548 is considered the watch that saved Audemars Piguet during the so-called quartz crisis of the early 70s. At its launch, the 5548 was a roaring success despite being born at a time when nobody was making complicated watches, let alone a brand new record-breaking ultra-thin automatic perpetual calendar. In 1984 Audemars Piguet made 675 examples, when the Swiss production of perpetual calendars was only 1.066 examples! At launch, the price of the 5548 was 15.500 CHF (compared to a Royal Oak 5402, which was priced at 3.950 CHF at launch).
The watch is driven by the JLC 2120 caliber with the addition of a Depraz perpetual calendar module. Even with the module, the movement is only 3,95mm thick. The movement is housed in a slim and elegant 36mm yellow gold case, which features a double step design with three setting buttons.
The Audemars Piguet 5448 worn in Scrooged by Bill Murray was not the result of a product placement as many might think. The same watch was also worn by the actor in another 1990 film, "Quick Change". In an interview with the film's co-director Howard Franklin, listed by the magazine Deployant and exit on Entertainment Weekly, he said:
"That Audemars Piguet was Bill's watch at the time. There was this thing that that kind of watch was self-winding, but if you don't wear it for a while, you have to take it to the Audemars Piguet store on Fifth Avenue to wind it and they charge you $150. And Bill was really pissed about it. because every time he made a film, of course, he had to take it off for a few months. And then he was supposed to pay this $150, so he said, "I'd really like you to cast this watch in the movie." "
Probably the $150 dollars requested by Audemars Piguet at the time was the cost of the service for setting up the perpetual calendar. This could explain why in the movie Scrooged, the month of the calendar was placed in November instead of the month in which the movie was set, i.e. December.
Back in Scrooged, Bill Murray is at his best when he plays the cynical, black-hearted Frank, even if he's not quite as convincing when he discovers the good guy hiding inside. While the film didn't win over critics, it has become a Christmas classic, with many people keeping it in their rotation of holiday favorites to watch each year…almost on par with “Seat for Two”.
All the elements are there: Bill Murray, a pinch of “A Christmas Carol” and… an Audemars Piguet Perpetual Calendar.