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The First 10 Christmas Movies Ever Made (Part 2)

_Elsa_ Posts: 36,831 Sweet Legend
edited December 2021 in Discussions

If you haven't read Part 1 yet then you might want to check that out first!

A Christmas Carol (1908)

A Christmas Carol (1908) is unfortunately a lost film. Little is known about it, except that the starring role was played by accomplished Shakespearean actor Tom Ricketts.

When the film first came out, a review in the magazine The Motion Picture World stated, “It is impossible to praise this film too highly. It reproduces the story as closely as it is possible to do in a film and the technical excellence of the work cannot be questioned. The photography, the staging and the acting are all of the best… Such films cannot be too highly commended… Even though it costs a fortune almost to prepare such a film, it is quite likely that the public will patronize it sufficiently to make good the extraordinary outlay.”

 A Trap for Santa Claus (1909)

A Trap for Santa Claus (1909), directed by D.W. Griffith, is a sixteen-minute film that takes place around Christmastime and centers on a struggling family. The film starred Henry B. Walthall, who appeared in several of Griffith’s films, and Marion Leonard, who became one of the first actors to ever receive screen credit.

The father, played by Walthall, is an unemployed drunkard who abandons his wife and children and starts making a living as a burglar. The wife, played by Leonard, struggles to support herself and the children. In a stroke of luck, an attorney shows up and informs her that she’s inherited a fortune from her late aunt. The family moves into a luxurious new house.

On Christmas Eve, the father breaks into the house, not knowing his family now lives there. He’s caught in a trap that the children set for Santa Claus, and his wife discovers him. After they reconcile, the father dresses up as Santa to surprise the children.

The practice of parents dressing up as Santa Claus for their children had never before been shown on screen. 

 A Christmas Carol (1910)

Directed by J. Searle Dawley, A Christmas Carol (1910) was produced and distributed by the Edison Company. One of the company's most prolific actors, Marc MacDermott, played Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge’s employee, Bob Crachit, was played by Charles Ogle, who had the starring role in the Edison Company’s Frankenstein (1910) earlier that year.

The ghosts in the film are portrayed with double exposure to make them transparent, while Scrooge’s visions of the past, present, and future are superimposed into the background. In some of these visions, MacDermott appears as a younger version of Scrooge.

In most early adaptations of this book, Scrooge is only visited by one ghost: his deceased colleague, Joseph Marley. But this one remained true to the book by including all four ghosts: Marley, the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Future. 

Making Christmas Crackers (1910)

Making Christmas Crackers (1910) shows the work that goes into cherished Christmas products, such as crackers, stockings, and decorations. The first five minutes of this six-minute film shows factory workers, mostly women, making these products, some by hand and some with machines. They cut, sew, fold, glue, arrange, and pack, occasionally glancing up at the camera while they work.

The last minute of the film takes place in a family’s living room, where seven children and their mother join hands and dance around their Christmas tree. The father, played by the film's director A.E. Coleby, then tosses a box of crackers into the air—the same crackers made by the factory workers—so the children can grab them off the floor.

The father then takes down a giant paper cracker has been placed on top of the Christmas tree. The children pull the cracker apart, and Santa Claus emerges in a puff of smoke. The children rejoice as he hands out gifts. 

A Christmas Accident (1912)

A Christmas Accident (1912), directed by Harold M. Shaw, tells the story of Christmas bringing people of different social classes together. The film starred William Wadsworth, one of the Edison Company’s most prolific character actors.

Wadsworth played Mr. Gilton, a wealthy old man who lives next door to the impoverished Bilton family. Despite being poor, the Biltons are warm and kind, while Mr. Gilton is bitter and irritable and often yells at the five Bilton children for stepping into his backyard.

On Christmas Eve, the Biltons make do with their limited means, setting up a modest Christmas tree on their kitchen table. Meanwhile, Mr. Gilton is walking home, carrying a turkey he bought for Christmas dinner. He’s caught in a blizzard, which obscures his vision, and he accidentally walks into the Biltons’ house instead of his own.

The Biltons welcome him into their home, offering him a seat at the table. Mr. Gilton is moved by their kindness, and they all spend Christmas together. (Source)

Very interesting! So now it's your turn. Please feel free to share your favorite Christmas movie with us here.

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