ALL AROUND | Life & times

LET’S WATCH OLD CHRISTMAS MOVIES

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Scene from an old Christmas videoI love watching old Christmas movies to celebrate the day. They somehow minimize the disappointment of opening all my gifts & discovering once more that there is no time machine under the tree. These old films are the most efficient way I know of taking a trip back to yesteryear.

Here’s why I love them-
The evolution of cinema both mirrors & is influenced by the three factors that compel me to write this blog:
1. Old films demonstrate the development of all the technology that is related to & utilized in the medium;
2. They submerge me in the affairs of the day & offer piercing & entertaining social commentary;
3. They delight me with their wondrous display of the prevailing popular aesthetic.

The Industrial Revolution of the 1800’s was the great mover of all these factors. The invention of the steam engine, powering locomotives & ships shrank the barrier of distance, creating a smaller more accessible world. Steam also powered machines in factories, profoundly changing the cultures of Europe & the U.S. from agrarian to those of manufacturing.

Electricity lengthened the day & powered machines that reduced the amount of time required to do work & produce goods. The telegraph, the telephone the printing press & the emerging medium of the cinema, facilitated communication allowing viewpoints to be shared rapidly across the globe.

One of the main issues addressed at this time in both fact & fiction was social class, the differences between the poor & the rich, the urban & the rural dweller. Scrooge was a character who clearly defined this divide & Christmas provided a good opportunity to show how this affected families.

High mortality rates created a culture focused on death. During the reign of Queen Victoria, black or dark mourning dress would often be worn for much of people’s lives. Symbols of death were popular in all forms of art. Each of these films has a darkness that is quite in contrast to later films. Think Home Alone!

The first films made & those since actually, were a product of these 3 factors- technology, world affairs & culture. They are very different from the holiday films made today which suits me just fine. (Though I do love Home Alone.) I plan to watch them all on Christmas day & I invite you to join me!

SO LET’S WATCH SOME OLD CHRISTMAS MOVIES!

1935
Scrooge (1:17:35)
ARF
Beautifully filmed & superbly acted by Seymour Hicks, an accomplished actor since the age of 6, Scrooge is the first sound version of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol.

1913
OLD SCROOGE (AKA: SCROOGE, A CHRISTMAS CAROL) (39:59)
The Vault

An old Christmas movie that is mute, with intertitles, Old Scrooge was released in America in 1926.

1912
A Christmas Accident (14:47)
Retro Video Vault

A charming story of a miser who is redeemed by Santa.

1910
A Christmas Carol (13:00)
Throwback

An Edison silent film, one of the earliest cinematic adaptations of the classic Charles Dickens Christmas story.

1910
Making Christmas Crackers (6:19)
BFI National Archive

This amusing film takes us from a factory, to a family, to Santa.

1910
A Trap for Santa Claus (15:41)
Cult Cinema Classics

A rather complex story with a tragic beginning & a joyous ending.

1907
A Little Girl Who Did Not Believe in Santa Claus (14:09)

During the period of early cinema, Edison & other companies created short Christmas movies. This one begins with what seems a classic holiday movie premise—but delivers a lovely, unconventional twist.

1905
The Night Before Christmas (8:43)

Another Edison film, it was the first cinematic production of the 1823 poem.

1900
The Christmas Dream (4:08)
CBGP Originals

I am a big fan of Georges Méliès, one of the most brilliant & astonishing artists in the history of humankind, so I am going to encourage you to visit Wikipedia to read more about his life & work, & the film.

1898
Santa Claus (1:16)
BFI National Archive

The first known Christmas movie, & the first-ever on-screen appearance of Kris Kringle demonstrates state of the art technology for the time.

I hope you have enjoyed your feast of old Christmas movies. I wish that you could all be here with me, sipping ginger tea & eating pumpkin hummus. Please let me know if you love them as I do. And if you have any suggestions to add for next year, I’m just a click away!!!!!

More in the New Year so make sure that you-

Old typewriter

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