THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM (1909)
Article 5128 by Dave Sindelar
What it is: Biblical adaptation
The birth of Christ is reenacted.
I found several versions of this short on YouTube, all of which claim to be the 1909 version of this movie. The opening credits say the company is “Exclusive Pictures”, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a repackaging of the Edison picture from 1909. If so, I don’t think it’s complete; IMDB lists a plot description from “The Motion Picture World”, and there is mentioned some scenes involving Herod that do not appear to be present in this picture, but that may only mean that it isn’t the complete movie. At any rate, I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen this version before; the most striking moment is the birth of Christ itself, which certainly makes it appear that Mary didn’t undergo much in the way of labor pains. This sequence, as well as the appearance of angels and the star itself, mark the fantastic content of the short. It is, as you’d expect, very reverent and a little on the slow side.
NOTE The YouTube video does not appear to be labeled correctly; this is actually a cut down version of a movie from 1903 that I’ve already seen. Let it stand as an example of how you can’t always trust the labeling of movies on YouTube.