Scrooge has a Silent Night
It has sort of become my own personal mission to watch and review as many of the numerous movie adaptations of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" as possible and as every year we seem to get either a new version or a movie inspired by Scrooge and the ghostly visitations I am sure it will be a mission which will never end. But it is for that reason that I found myself watching the 1910 version of "A Christmas Carol", a one reel silent movie which tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly visitors, but condenses it down to roughly 10 minutes. Produced by the Thomas Alva Edison movie studio it is actually surprisingly refreshing to watch a stripped down version which shows just the pivotal scenes and it does a remarkable job of getting across the story.
Now to be honest anyone who is interested in the 1910 version of "A Christmas Carol" will know the story already so I'm not going to bore you with it. But as already mentioned in the space of one reel we get all the pivotal parts of the story; the visit from the charity collectors as well as Scrooge's nephew to his office and then we get the various visitations before Ebenezer has a change of heart. It is actually surprising how well this works, delivering just these important scenes and cutting out the linking scenes which in many ways now feel like filler having watched this.
And considering this 1910 version of "A Christmas Carol" is over 100 years old the simple special effects work remarkably well. The use of double exposure so that we have the appearance of ghostly visitors is actually more than I expected and it actually layers the image up nicely when you consider the limited technology back at the start of the 20th century. And it is credit to the actors who make this work, looking at the correct place when there was no one there. Talking of which whilst names such as Marc McDermott and Charles Ogle mean little to many today they do act their parts nicely.
What this all boils down to is that this 1910 version of "A Christmas Carol" was a much better and enjoyable experience than I expected. It was almost nice to watch a movie stripped down to its bare bones of just the pivotal scenes and despite being over 100 years old the simple double exposure effect to create the ghostly visitors works nicely. If the thought of watching a silent movie doesn't appeal to you it's worth watching this 1910 version of "A Christmas Carol" because the familiarity of the story allows you to appreciate how talented those involved in movie making iver 100 years ago were.