THE LITTLE MATCH SELLER (1902)
Article 4211 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by James Williamson
What it is: Christmas tear-jerker
A young girl who sells matches is left alone and freezing outside of a shop window. She lights the matches and sees visions of Christmas in the window.
I don’t remember ever seeing any versions of this story during the Christmas season when I was a kid. But then, I think there’s a reason for that; this is easily the most depressing Christmas story I know of. Yes, it could be argued that it does have a happy ending, but it’s not one that leaves you with one shred of warmth to your fellow man in this world. The special effects consist of mostly the visions of Christmas in the window, and they’re pretty basic. However, my favorite effect is towards the end of the story, when a policeman shines a flashlight; it’s obvious that the light projected is a special effect rather than an emanation from the flashlight, and gives the movie an interesting texture. It’s effective enough, but, by the very nature of the story, it’s certainly not very cheery.