The funniest memory I have about A Christmas Carol comes from my days in Dublin. I worked in a café and one night close to Christmas I and other three Italians were closing the shop on the late shift.
While cleaning up the hot counter, I could hear Roberta, Agnese and Daniele discussing in another room, but I didn’t hear what they were talking about. After a while, Roberta came over to help me close the hot counter. While cleaning up the tools, she asked me, “Sarah, you know A Christmas Carol is a book, don’t you?”
“By Dickens,” I said.
Roberta all brightened up. “I love you! Agnese and Dani were pestering me about that being just a film. I felt stupid.”
Well, that’s a testament to the extreme popularity the story has gained on screen and to be honest, I myself thought for years it was just a film, before discovering it is actually a book, actually from the 1800s, actually by one of the most popular authors who ever wrote novels.
So I’m not at all surprised to find this film adapting the story in 1910… and apparently it isn’t the first one either.
This was filmed by Edison Production in Bronx country of New York City with some of the most complex and sophisticated special effects of the time.
I’ve always been fond of A Christmas Carol since the first time I watched it on tv when I was a kid, though not for the Christmas theme. I’m afraid the ghosts were what won me out. And the story of redemption, which have always been my favourite.
I like watching different renditions. I enjoyed watching this too, although it’s sure choppy and quite superficial. It looks like the special effects were the main course (bit like today in some productions, isn’t it?). You don’t really get much other than the ghosts, there’s very little in terms of characters’ building, not to mention Dickens’s original social commentary.
Still there is something charming about it. Although definitely overly dramatic as it was the case in those early silent films, I think Marc McDermott is a pretty awesome Scrooge and the only character who really gives something to the viewer.
I also find the special effects fascinating and still quite charming. They must have been mind-blowing for people at that time.
So, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy your family and friends. Eat well and plenty and have bountiful presents to give and receive.