Tuesday, December 03, 2013
'You Wish to Be Anonymous?' | Mark McDermott (1910)
Thomas Edison's 1910 adaptation of A Christmas Carol is one of those that has the solicitors visit Scrooge before his nephew. It's a quick scene without even any intertitles except for the one that sets it up: "The day before Christmas. Scrooge, a hard fisted miser, receives an appeal from the Charity Relief Committee."
There are three committee-members in this version and they bluster in, shake snow onto his floor, and wave a donation ledger in Scrooge's face as he tries to work. He quickly stands and shows them the door. This is immediately followed by the nephew's entrance and - as you may remember - he also has an entourage.
The effect of these two scenes is counter-productive to establishing Scrooge as a miserable person. Except for the intertitle calling him a "hard fisted miser," he could be anybody having a bad day and suffering constant interruptions to his work. I would likely be cranky too in his position and he seems justified in throwing out the bad-mannered Committee. We don't even know why Scrooge was fussing at Cratchit when he walked in, so even that could be deserved.