Film: 2579

Feature Drama | 1910 | Silent | B/W

Synopsis:

Early adaptation by Hepworth of A Christmas Carol dramatised. Includes scene of 'Charles Dickens' writing.

Opening titles: "Marc McDermott in A Christmas Carol, from the story of the same name by Charles Dickens". Shows image of Father Christmas/Santa Claus behind the titles. "At Gad's Hill in Kent, Charles Dickens begins one of his most-loved stories".

Exterior of the house in Portsmouth where Charles Dickens was born. Two people walking along stop and approach the front door. Interior, Charles Dickens, replete with enormous beard, is ambling about his study. He opens a door for air, and sits down at a desk, pondering. An idea strikes him, and he sits down at the desk, picks up a quill pen and ink, and begins to write: "A Christmas Carol"…segue to Scrooge's office.

Title: "At the office of Scrooge and Marley, merchants - and misers." Scrooge enters in a top hat and splendid cloak, holding a cane. He takes off his long overcoat and hangs it up. His clerk sits in the room behind, writing feverishly. Scrooge berates him for something or other, wagging a finger, and sits down. The clerk is obviously cold, blowing his hands and rubbing them. A group of men burst in in top hats, and shake the snow off them. They crowd round, beseeching Scrooge's attention. The speak and show him a book. Title: "Scrooge indignantly refuses to contribute to a fund to buy Christmas comforts for London's poor and needy". He bows to the men and sends them out.

Title: "Scrooge is visited by his nephew, who has come to wish him a Merry Christmas". His young nephew enters in top hat and overcoat and tries to close the door behind. Some other women come in after him and make a fuss, but Scrooge send them away. His nephew stands there, and Scrooge says "Humbug, sir, humbug! Merry Christmas indeed - pah. Good day to you, sir!" and sends him off too. Scrooge waves his cane to gesture, and the clerk puts his scarf and flat cap on and leaves.

Title: "Scrooge sees the face of his dead partner, Marley". Scrooge hovers outside the door, with a key, about to lock it and sees Marley's face where the doorknocker is. He grumbles and shudders. Title: "After his frugal supper, Marley's spirit appears and warns Scrooge to observe the fate that had overtaken Marley". In a lounge we see Scrooge sitting by a fire next to a large grandfather clock, wearing a nightcap. Marley's ghost walks over to him. He has a large chain tied around his waist, and stands pointing dramatically at something. He sits down and Scrooge pretends he cannot see him, and puts his hand through the ghost, shaking his head and muttering as Marley makes a scene.

Title: "The Spirit of Christmas Past appears to show Scrooge scenes of his youth and early manhood, when he was poor but happy". Scrooge stands by a four-poster bed, and the ghost is beside him, dressed with a crown of holly leaves. They see a vision of Scrooge as a young man at a desk, and a girl arrives and they dance around together, happy, and walk out. Scrooge shakes him head angrily. Title: "At the Fezziwigs, where Scrooge rejects his sweetheart's attempts to distract him from his ambitious and selfish plans". The vision continues and they watch lots of people greeting each other and dancing around, dancing under the arches of other's arms, with a fiddler. As he watches, Scrooge is clapping along. But then the ghost shows him himself losing the girl he loved.

Title: "The Spirit of Christmas Present shows Scrooge what his wealth could accomplish if rightly used". Brief scene of the ghost sitting on the four-poster waving something (a baton?) while Scrooge grumbles. Title: "At his poor clerk's home, where a toast is given to all the world - even Scrooge!" The two watch a vision of [Bob Cratchitt]'s house where family are gathered round. Tiny Tom hobbles along and then they all raise a glass. Scrooge smiles and points at this.

Title: "Scrooge is shown his nephew, refused for want of money and prospects". They watch vision of a crowd dancing, then the nephew and a woman, pleading with [her father?], then as they leave, the nephew stands alone in despair. Scrooge takes some coins out of his pocket and tries to offer it to the vision. Title: "Scrooge sees the desperate plights of want and misery". Another vision appears of beggars on the floor reaching up to Scrooge. The visions disappear and he is left alone, thinking on his actions.

Title: "The Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come show to Scrooge the death-bed of a lonely miser, robbed before his body is even cold". This ghost seems to have a long veil, and is possibly female. She shows him a vision of himself on his own death bed, a nursemaid stealing his rings and coins the second he dies. Then they see a gravestone, which says "Ebeneezer Scrooge - he lived and died without a friend". Scrooge pleads with the ghost but it disappears and he runs about the room and faints into bed.

Title: "Awakened the next morning by a Christmas Carol to a new and fuller life". He sits on his bed and listens - "Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men" [original edison intertitle]. Five ragamuffin boys stand outside singing as one conducts. Scrooge is frightened and runs round his room seeing if visions are still there. Then he dances a jig when he realises he's alive and normal - he digs into his pocket, and exicitedly throws money out of the window to the boys.

Title: "The true spirit of Christmas has entered into old Scrooge". Scrooge creeps up a snow-laden street as his Nephew enters a house. The men from the [benevolent fund?] walk past and he accosts them, asking them to "Put me down for fifty pounds!" They are pleased and write it down in their book, and go on their way. His nephew and the lady leave the house and he stops them too. He hands his nephew a note, which says "As my business partner you, my nephew, will be able to marry the girl of your choice. E. Scrooge". The nephew is ecstatic and his lady friend hugs Scrooge.

Title: "At the home of Bob Cratchit, Scrooge's poor clerk". The family are gathered round the table when Scrooge arrives and they let him in. The children are scared and hug their mother. Scrooge speaks to Bob, mock-accusing him then prodding him laughing. As he does so a man comes in behind and puts a basket with a large turkey on the table. Bob brandishes a coal scuttle at Scrooge saying "He's gone mad! Keep him away!!" But Scrooge points to the turkey - Bob is astonished, then happy and hugs his wife. Scrooge wipes his eyes (tears?) blows his nose and introduces his nephew and his fiancee to Bob and his wife. Title: "Peace on Earth, and Goodwill to all men!"
THE END


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