Be your own «Christmas Angel»
BSSB.BE Silent Flicks Theate 24/12/2018
* Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.
Old Classic Christmas Movies: “The Christmas Angel” (1904) is a Christmas short by Georges Méliès. Produced in France with two endings – one for the French audience and another for the United States and Britain. This film has a “It’s A Wonderful Life” ending, as the intercession of the Christmas angel for a poor beggar girl and her family helps them in their time of need and the spirit of giving and charity comes to their home at Christmas time!
The angel of the title actually only makes an appearance towards the end for only about ten seconds and has very little to do with the plot of the whole film. In the UK, it was released under the title of “The Beggar Maiden”, which is much more fitting.
While there are hardly any special effects in this ten-minute movie, the message and visual look makes up for it. The film begins in the cottage of a poor family who is threatened by the landlord when they discover they can’t pay the rent. What’s worse, the mother is lying sick in bed.
So the father (who almost looks like Méliès himself) sends out their daughter Marie (played by Rachel Gillet, an actress who starred in Méliès’s 1901 film “Little Red Riding Hood”) to beg for alms. However, no one really seems to care about the little girl’s welfare except a poor rag-and-bone man, and she falls unconscious in the snow…
While the plot is extremely simple and the whole film is told in just seven scenes, the message of the film is loud and clear, managing to say more in ten minutes than most movies today could do today in several hours. It’s somewhat touching and the message even now still has relevance.
Not only that, the sets in the film are absolutely beautiful, even if they aren’t exactly convincing now. Even the one brief special effect we see, the superimposing of the angel, looks very well done especially compared to other Méliès films of the time. A beautiful movie and very much worth seeing even today.
(Note: I’d like to point out that a stencil-colored copy of this film survives but is not currently available online. What’s more, two different endings to it were made, one for British audiences and one for American audiences (I won’t spoil any of them). It would be interesting to see the other ending, but as far as I know it doesn’t survive).
- The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: Silent Flicks Theate