26 December 2012

Santa Claus (1898) - World's 1st Christmas Movie - George Albert Smith

What makes this treatment considerably more interesting than a conventional piece of editing is the way that Smith links the shots in terms of both space and time, by placing the new image over the space previously occupied by the fireplace, and continuing to show the children sleeping throughout (their bed occupies the left-hand side of the screen throughout the entire film). Santa then emerges from where the fireplace used to be, distributes the presents, and disappears via another jump cut.
This is believed to be the cinema's earliest known example of parallel action and, when coupled with double-exposure techniques that Smith had already demonstrated in the same year's The Mesmerist andPhotographing a Ghost, the result is one of the most visually and conceptually sophisticated British films made up to then.


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