The Christmas Angel (1904)

aka L’ange de Noel
Article 4624 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 9-7-2014
Directed by Georges Melies
Cast unknown
Country: France
What it is: Christmas tear-jerker

In the cold of winter, a poverty-stricken man with a sick wife, no wood to heat the house, and on the verge of being evicted, sends out his daughter to beg for alms. However, bad luck prevails and the daughter is soon near death from the cold. But then….

Let’s face it; dramas are not Melies’s forte, and this one has its fair share of flaws, such as some over-theatrical acting and a story that tries to push the pity buttons a little too insistently. Nevertheless, this is perhaps one of Melies’s more successful forays into drama; the story is efficiently told and easy to follow (even without the English narration), the sets are wonderful, and it maintains the right mood. There’s only a single element of fantastic content to the story, and that can be found in the title; it doesn’t appear until near the end of the short, but you can probably figure out how it plays into the story. It’s one of Melies’s better departures from his usual style.

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