Tuesday, December 28, 2010

unknown - The Christmas Miracle (1912)



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An Old-Fashioned Christmas
17 December 2010 | by boblipton (New York City)

A poor mother is tending to her three small children when they see a vision of Jesus. When the children go to take their naps, she lets a poor, old tramp warm himself in her room. Later, she receives her reward for her kindness.

I strongly suspect that this is a movie version of a traditional magic lantern show like "Buy Your Own Cherries" since it uses a couple of bits of magic lantern grammar that had fallen out of common usage by this time -- although they still survive in very occasional use. One is the vision of Jesus, which appears in a small circle in the upper right corner. The over is non-linear time, as we see the tramp outside the door, followed by a shot from inside the door, in which the woman opens it to let him in. This too, was common for magic lantern presentations and, indeed, it now appears that Porter's LIFE OF AN American FIREMAN was originally edited that way, and a couple of years later re-edited to modern, linear movie time.

It would make sense to do it this way if my supposition is correct -- otherwise people who had seen the magic lantern show annually, perhaps for decades would be very annoyed!

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