Thursday, December 13, 2018
“I Was a Boy Here!” | Mark McDermott (1910)
In keeping with its limited budget and just general shortness (the whole film is less than 14 minutes long), Thomas Edison's Christmas Carol hits this scene quickly and all in Scrooge's room. The Spirit of Christmas (one ghost for all three time periods) simply calls up vignettes for Scrooge to look at.
The relevant one to this year's scene has Young Scrooge sitting dejectedly at a desk as a younger girl sneaks up behind him to cover his eyes. He stands up and turns around, excited to see her, then kisses her on the cheek. They pantomime her inviting him to leave the room with her and he's unbelieving at first. She convinces him though and they dance around together briefly before she playfully pushes him out of the room and follows him. I can only imagine how this would read to someone unfamiliar with the story. You really have to know what's going on ahead of time, because the film explains nothing.
Old Scrooge has mostly rejected the ghosts' help to this point. He's just wanted the whole thing to be over. But watching his younger self and (Dickens readers know) sister, he's affected. He puts his hands on his heart and then holds them out towards Fan as if he wants to embrace her. Not being able to, he balls his fists in frustration and pouts, going back to not looking at the ghost or engaging with it. The Spirit knows that it's on the right track though. It got through to Scrooge briefly, so it calls forth another scene...