Saturday, December 16, 2017
“Your Reclamation, Then” | Mark McDermott (1910)
Index of other entries in The Christmas Carol Project
Thomas Edison's Christmas Carol is only hitting the highlights, so it goes straight from Marley's disappearing to the next Spirit's showing up, right there in Scrooge's parlor. There's no going to bed, much less a countdown to 1:00. In fact, Marley never even mentioned that there would be another ghost.
I use the singular there, because that's what we get in this version. A title card announces that the new figure is "the Spirit of Christmas." Its first job is to help Scrooge recall "incidents of his youth and early manhood," but it's going to be responsible for ushering Scrooge through the Present and Yet to Come, too. For that reason, it's almost not worth comparing its appearance to Dickens' Spirit of Christmas Past, but it does pull the long white hair from there. In most other ways, it resembles the Spirit of Christmas Present.
In addition to saving money on actors, Edison also saved money on sets by having all of Scrooge's visions take place in his room. We'll get into those next year, but that means for this year that there's no hand on Scrooge's heart in order to uplift him for a journey.
Scrooge's reaction seems to be denial. That's kind of what he was doing with Marley, too: refusing to look at him and just generally wishing the whole thing would be over.
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Seems like a rushed production, but I guess it is all for good reasons.
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