Watch the WORLD’S FIRST Christmas movie! It’s SILENT!!

/ by

Have you ever seen Santa Claus, the WORLD’S FIRST Christmas movie????!!!!! It’s a short SILENT film directed by George Albert Smith about two Victorian children going to bed and Santa bringing them gifts. It was made in 1898!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Michael Brooke of BFI Screenonline:

The opening of the film is a straightforward single-shot drama in which expectant children are hurried off to bed by the maid. She then turns out the light, which leads to an imaginative transition whereby the background is replaced by a black space (via a jump cut) while the foreground remains as before. Onto this space is superimposed a circular image of Santa landing on the roof and descending the chimney.

What makes this treatment considerably more interesting than a conventional piece of editing is the way that Smith links the shots in terms of both space and time, by placing the new image over the space previously occupied by the fireplace, and continuing to show the children sleeping throughout (their bed occupies the left-hand side of the screen throughout the entire film). Santa then emerges from where the fireplace used to be, distributes the presents, and disappears via another jump cut.

This is believed to be the cinema’s earliest known example of parallel action and, when coupled with double-exposure techniques that Smith had already demonstrated in the same year’s The Mesmerist and Photographing a Ghost, the result is one of the most visually and conceptually sophisticated British films made up to then. It comes as little surprise that Smith corresponded with the French pioneer Georges Méliès at about this time, as the two men shared a common goal in terms of creating an authentic cinema of illusion.

WOW!!! It’s super short, give it a watch!! Happy Christmas Eve, everyone!!

via Boing Boing

  • Helen Gircko

    Wow! It is so simple, incredibly cute and truly magical! Santa very elegantly climbs into the chimney …And so beautiful is the expectation of a miracle, and so touching is the miracle that could not fail to happen. I love silent films, but I have never seen this! Thanks for sharing Pee-wee! Happy Christmas Eve!