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In his first of two Warner Bros. cartoons, schoolboy Ralph Phillips daydreams in class, the lessons inspiring his fantasy heroics, such as being a pony-express rider, a deep-sea diver, a boxing champion and even General Douglas MacArthur.
A small girl makes her living selling matches on the streets of New York. It's winter, and the hustling crowds at best ignore her, and some are outright rude. She takes shelter and, to try to stave off the cold a bit, lights a match. It gets blown out; this happens again, then on the third try, she falls into a dream. In this dream, cherubs attend her, she gets a new doll, then a new dress. The cherubs put her on a throne. Then a storm comes, and she goes toward a candle. That candle goes out, and we see that back in the real world, so did her match and her life. An angel comes along and takes her soul. Written by
Jon Reeves <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Unfortunately it is the exception rather than the rule when a screenwriter leaves the original story as it is. In this case, the steps of the original were followed, but the details were changed. It is almost as if the film script of this Columbia "color rhapsody" toon was written with only one reading of the source-story, and it never was consulted again. The mood does remain the same, however, and the world may seem even a bit harsher in this particular adaption. The New Year's Eve crowd is quite antagonistic to the poor little match seller. In Andersen's 3 page story it is the weather and her father which are the main adversaries, here it is the uncaring revelers which dominate.
Since the main essence of the story is left intact, and the treatment is grandiose, what remains is an excellent cartoon on any level. The combination of plot line and Brahm's Waltz in A-flat is a match made in heaven! It is obvious much time and care went into the animation, and the choice of colors were superb. Since images were used to convey meaning rather than dialogue(only the words, "Happy New Year" are heard)it seems that the important character of the grandmother had to be dropped in place of an angel. If you haven't read the short story in a long while, you may be willing to overlook this.
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