Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Firsts #7 - Movies

What is your favourite Christmas movie? Perhaps one of the old classics of the 1940’s like “Miracle on 34th Street” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” or even more modern 1990’s classics from The Muppets Christmas repertoire?

Long before, there was Santa Claus, the first Christmas movie Santa Claus was the creation George Albert Smith, a British pioneer  film maker. Produced in 1898, this short film was one of the first on any theme, not only Christmas. Because of its clever editing techniques it has been hailed a technical marvel of its age. 

"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…, the result is one of the most visually and conceptually sophisticated British films made up to then.
( from )

While this short silent film may not appeal today when we are so used to technological advances in filming and so many amazing special effects, I think there is such authenticity to this little film - just like a home movie of the past!

Obviously Christmas is a theme many film makers, amateur and professional explore. Some of these suggest that Christmas might be just an excuse to make a bad movie. You can tell just by the title that the reviews aren’t going to be  five stars, for example, Santa’s Slay, Santa Claus Conquers the Marians, Revenge of the Mutant Snowman, and the series of horror movies, Silent Night Deadly Night. If you are interested, I found this list of ‘every Christmas movie ever made - will almost.’ And I am sure you will find your favourite Christmas movie there. 

OK, I am admitting I favour the schmaltzy, happy ending Christmas movies. When I was young (an impressionable 13 year old ? ), my favourite feel good movie was ‘Lilies of the Field’ and I still love it, so of course, on my long list of Christmas movies I enjoy,  the sequel, “Christmas Lilies of the Field” very narrowly goes to the top above other sentimental favourites like “The Bells of St Mary’s”, “Holiday Inn” and “Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence”.

Now here’s a great Advent/ Christmas activity, make a list of your favourite Christmas movies and relax and and watch at least y
our top ten this festive season! 

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