The Want of Money

A Christmas Carol (1910) is the oldest surviving American adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic. The British 1843 novella was previously adapted by the US in the year 1908, but that footage is now lost. A Christmas Carol (1910) may only be 13 minutes, but it does tell a bit more story than Scrooge, or, Marley’s Ghost. The 1910 silent film was made by Thomas Edison’s company Edison Studios.

It’s a bit grainy, but well preserved while managing to capture the most important beats of the story in its short runtime. Australian actor Marc McDermott has the right look for the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. The movie focuses on Scrooge refusing to make charity donations and turning down his nephew Fred. His famous catchphrase “Bah, Humbug!” still isn’t shown on-screen, but the same innovative superimposing process from the 1901 film is used to show Jacob Marley’s face on Scrooge’s doorknocker.

The ghost of Jacob Marley is translucent with the chains that he carries in the book. The Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come look like they’re all played by the same actress. The spirits do all of their work at once in Scrooge’s bedroom where many ghostly visions are seen. Scrooge is transformed for the better and he personally pays a visit to Bob Cratchit’s house for Christmas dinner. Tiny Tim is implied, but not explicitly part of the movie. Though brief, A Christmas Carol (1910) gets the message across.

1. A Christmas Carol 1910

Ebenezer Scrooge sees a vision of Jacob Marley

P.S. Being public domain, Iโ€™ve supplied the full movie underneath.

2 thoughts on “The Want of Money

  1. Never knew Edison’s company did a version of A Christmas Carol until today, this is quite cool. Wish it had a musical score though, kinda boring to watch it without one. It still amazes me how they were able to do the transparent/translucent special effects way back then, such innovation and talent.

    Liked by 1 person

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