Christmas Past


2h 1925
Christmas Past

Brief Synopsis

A compilation of Christmas-themed short, silent films.

Film Details

Also Known As
Silent Christmas
Genre
Short
Silent
Compilation
Release Date
1925

Technical Specs

Duration
2h

Synopsis

A compilation of Christmas-themed short, silent films.

Film Details

Also Known As
Silent Christmas
Genre
Short
Silent
Compilation
Release Date
1925

Technical Specs

Duration
2h

Articles

Christmas Past


Yuletide celebrations and gatherings from another era are revisited in Christmas Past, a compilation of silent shorts with footage dating back as early as 1901. The true spirit of the season is revealed through these nine Christmas-themed shorts, with stories about giving and sharing, festive holiday parties and Santa Claus sightings. The recent addition of an original score by Al Kryszak further enhances the festive mood with familiar tunes like "Deck the Halls" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." It's a nostalgic trip to simpler times, where just being together as a family was what mattered most.

In A Holiday Pageant at Home (1901), the children of a typical turn-of-the-century family put on a Christmas Eve show. While it's not exactly a recreation of the nativity, it does feature toy guns and swords. A Winter Straw Ride (1906) serves up some wintry outdoor fun as a horse-drawn ride in the snow turns into a frolicking snowball fight. The short comes from Thomas Edison's company under the direction of Wallace McCutcheon and film pioneer Edwin S. Porter, who shot and directed The Great Train Robbery (1903). It was Porter who discovered the power of continuity editing and paved the way for D.W. Griffith, the father of narrative filmmaking. And speaking of Griffith, he is represented here by Trap for Santa (1909). The story follows a poverty-stricken family who are split apart and then miraculously reunited on Christmas Eve after their fortunes have greatly improved. Shot by G.W. Blitzer, who would go on to film Griffith's silent epics The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916), the short also features an appearance by future comedy producer Mack Sennett as a bartender.

A mean-spirited neighbor learns the true meaning of Christmas in A Christmas Accident (1912). The morality play is based on a story by Annie Eliot Trumbull, a Hartford, Connecticut, writer and member of the same literary group as Mark Twain. There are too many Santas on the scene in The Adventure of the Wrong Santa Claus (1914) -- and one of them's a crook! But not to fear, the other Santa is an amateur detective who returns those stolen Christmas gifts faster than you can say "on Dasher!" Santa Claus vs. Cupid (1915) also has a surplus of Santas, including one Robin Hood-like Kris Kringle who steals from the rich to give to the poor.

The lengthiest short, and possibly the most humorous one in the collection, is Santa Claus (1925). In this story, some inquisitive kids want to know what Santa does when he isn't dispensing gifts. So, on Christmas Eve, they get their wish and St. Nick shows the children exactly how he spends the other 364 days of the year. He watches them through his telescope and marks off the names of bad boys and girls. He visits his neighbors the Eskimos. He trains the reindeer. And most surprisingly, he holds a once a year powwow with the Easter Bunny, who comes to him for advice. And that's not Santa's only celebrity pal. Jack Frost also pays a visit. Yes, Santa maintains a busy social calendar, the children soon learn!

Christmas Past concludes with two Christmas classics. The first is one of the earliest screen versions of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, filmed in 1910. Look for some early special effects during the appearances of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. And finally, the program bids "to all a good night" with the first film version of The Night Before Christmas (1905), another offering from Edwin S. Porter.

So instead of overdosing on 24 hours of A Christmas Story (1983) and watching It's a Wonderful Life (1946) for the 100th time, discover a holiday movie you've never seen before -- Christmas Past. And remember, Santa's watching.

BW-121m.

by Stephanie Thames
Christmas Past

Christmas Past

Yuletide celebrations and gatherings from another era are revisited in Christmas Past, a compilation of silent shorts with footage dating back as early as 1901. The true spirit of the season is revealed through these nine Christmas-themed shorts, with stories about giving and sharing, festive holiday parties and Santa Claus sightings. The recent addition of an original score by Al Kryszak further enhances the festive mood with familiar tunes like "Deck the Halls" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." It's a nostalgic trip to simpler times, where just being together as a family was what mattered most. In A Holiday Pageant at Home (1901), the children of a typical turn-of-the-century family put on a Christmas Eve show. While it's not exactly a recreation of the nativity, it does feature toy guns and swords. A Winter Straw Ride (1906) serves up some wintry outdoor fun as a horse-drawn ride in the snow turns into a frolicking snowball fight. The short comes from Thomas Edison's company under the direction of Wallace McCutcheon and film pioneer Edwin S. Porter, who shot and directed The Great Train Robbery (1903). It was Porter who discovered the power of continuity editing and paved the way for D.W. Griffith, the father of narrative filmmaking. And speaking of Griffith, he is represented here by Trap for Santa (1909). The story follows a poverty-stricken family who are split apart and then miraculously reunited on Christmas Eve after their fortunes have greatly improved. Shot by G.W. Blitzer, who would go on to film Griffith's silent epics The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916), the short also features an appearance by future comedy producer Mack Sennett as a bartender. A mean-spirited neighbor learns the true meaning of Christmas in A Christmas Accident (1912). The morality play is based on a story by Annie Eliot Trumbull, a Hartford, Connecticut, writer and member of the same literary group as Mark Twain. There are too many Santas on the scene in The Adventure of the Wrong Santa Claus (1914) -- and one of them's a crook! But not to fear, the other Santa is an amateur detective who returns those stolen Christmas gifts faster than you can say "on Dasher!" Santa Claus vs. Cupid (1915) also has a surplus of Santas, including one Robin Hood-like Kris Kringle who steals from the rich to give to the poor. The lengthiest short, and possibly the most humorous one in the collection, is Santa Claus (1925). In this story, some inquisitive kids want to know what Santa does when he isn't dispensing gifts. So, on Christmas Eve, they get their wish and St. Nick shows the children exactly how he spends the other 364 days of the year. He watches them through his telescope and marks off the names of bad boys and girls. He visits his neighbors the Eskimos. He trains the reindeer. And most surprisingly, he holds a once a year powwow with the Easter Bunny, who comes to him for advice. And that's not Santa's only celebrity pal. Jack Frost also pays a visit. Yes, Santa maintains a busy social calendar, the children soon learn! Christmas Past concludes with two Christmas classics. The first is one of the earliest screen versions of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, filmed in 1910. Look for some early special effects during the appearances of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. And finally, the program bids "to all a good night" with the first film version of The Night Before Christmas (1905), another offering from Edwin S. Porter. So instead of overdosing on 24 hours of A Christmas Story (1983) and watching It's a Wonderful Life (1946) for the 100th time, discover a holiday movie you've never seen before -- Christmas Past. And remember, Santa's watching. BW-121m. by Stephanie Thames

Quotes

Trivia