A Christmas Accident (1912) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
9 Reviews
Sort by:
An Early Holiday Feature That Still Works Very Well
Snow Leopard20 March 2006
This is one of the earliest holiday-themed movies that still work well today, and for its time it works very well. The story's theme is quite similar to the more familiar "A Christmas Carol", but in a completely different and more contemporary setting that in some respects allows the story to hit even closer to home.

The story follows and contrasts two neighboring families, an unhappy well-to-do couple and a large, impoverished family. The affluent husband is an incurable grouch, who constantly fusses at and blames the neighbors for the most trivial of things, and who then is transformed by the 'Accident' of the title.

Most of it is straightforward, but believable. The setting is simple, but it works because the homes still don't look too out of date, and because the domestic concerns and disagreements are the familiar types of things that often arise between neighbors if there happen to be underlying tensions.

Probably the best aspect of the movie is Edna Hamel, as one of the poor children. She has a good screen presence and is quite sympathetic. Her few moments in the spotlight really give the whole movie a big boost.
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Beautiful and tearjerking
preppy-327 December 2003
It's about two families living side by side in a duplex. One family is poor but happy--a mother, a father and 4 (or 5) kids. The other is a greedy, old, cruel man who is constantly going after the poor family. His wife tries to calm him to no avail. But it all ends happily on Christmas Eve. The old, cruel man has a complete change of heart, and damned if I didn't start crying when the little girl gave the old man a present.

Sounds cloying but it isn't. It's well-acted, directed, written and believable. Short and to the point and a real tear-jerker. Recommended.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Delightfully poignant tale of intended and unintended generosity.
trivia-220 December 1999
"A Christmas Accident" is truly an effective take on Dickens' Christmas Carol. No dead spirits here, just a tale of two families living side by side in a duplex. One an old disagreeable skinflint whose well-meaning wife must endure his tirades. The other a young couple with five small children struggling to make ends meet. Despite the old man's nasty accusatory ways the young children and couple make numerous friendly overtures. Their reward is to be accused of stealing his food and poisoning his dog.

In the end, we are treated to a special Christmas made all the more so by a Christmas accident.

I watched this Dec. 19th on AMC's Silent Sunday presentation of nine silent shorts with Christmas themes. I am not sure when it will be shown again, but it is worth viewing-if you don't mind crying that is.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
" Enchanting 1912 Style Christmas Story "
PamelaShort13 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A very delightful 1912 Edison Company film about a scrooge character who is changed by the simple act of love from an innocent child on Christmas Day. The story is about two families who live beside each other in a duplex. A family of 5 children and their mother and father live beside a miserable, greedy older man and his long-suffering wife who tries to cajole him out of his ill-tempered ways to no avail. Always grouching at the kindly family next door, he even blames them for his dogs death. Christmas Eve arrives and the excited children gather around their tree and presents while the loving parents look on. Meanwhile the grumpy neighbour has gone out into a snowstorm to bring home a Christmas turkey, he accidentally enters his neighbours home. The little girl immediately mistakes him as Santa Claus and the confused man gives up his turkey. Her father explains who he is and the child gives him her Teddy Bear to take the place of his beloved dog. The wife enters to see her husband a changed man. This early silent film is well acted, with high production values for the time, the cinematography is outstanding. Well worth watching for anyone who loves early silents and sentimental Christmas tales.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Holiday Gift From Thomas Alva Edison
Ron Oliver31 December 2001
When A CHRISTMAS ACCIDENT causes a mean old man to enter the wrong home, he is taught the true meaning of the Yuletide Spirit...

This very old film, from the Edison Studios, is a charming surprise. Short and to the point, it is competently produced & effectively acted. Best of all, the Holiday sentiment is both tender & affecting. The awakening power of the movies is seen in embryo here.

Al Kryszak provided the score for the video compilation A Christmas Past, in which this film appears.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Kind and Gentle Story
Hitchcoc25 November 2017
This Edison holiday short really works. Two families live in separate units of a duplex. One is a young man and his wife and children, barely getting along in life; the other a grizzled old man who snarls and shouts at people. His wife is kind, but he is obviously not very pleased with the world. He takes every opportunity to abuse his poor neighbors. Then one day the old man's dog is poisoned. This leads to him becoming even more bitter. The "accident" has to do with a heavy snow storm that cause the man to get his bearing crossed. The result is a beautiful ending. This film wears very well, even today.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Just the thing for any occasion, and all occasions
deickemeyer12 April 2017
Annie Eliot Trumbull has written a picture with true Christmas atmosphere which is something worthwhile. The holiday spirit is feeling not cold fact; one can't find it by sitting up for it and, in describing it, something more than realism is demanded. It is like the thorn that blossoms in the snow. It isn't believable except at Glastonbury. Dickens' "Christmas Carol" is also not wholly believable, but it is most convincing. And the same is true of this picture. It is a story of two adjoining houses just alike and of two families, one with no children and rich, the other, poor but blessed with five likely youngsters. It shows how the rich man refused to allow his wife to "do something" for the children next door and then by accident presented them with a turkey and so found Christmas without expecting it, like Sir Launfall. It is a clean-cut, true and wholesome offering; just the thing for any occasion, and all occasions. William Wadsworth and Mrs. William Bechtel play the rich people. Augustus Phillips, Mrs. C.J. Williams and Edna Hamel, with four other children, play the poor family and all do very well at nearly all times. - The Moving Picture World, December 28, 1912
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Really touching
Warning: Spoilers
"A Christmas Accident" is an American 15-minute short film from the year 1912 (the year the Titanic sank), so this one is already over 100 years old and nobody should be surprised that it does not have sound or color. But it does not need either of the two to succeed. The director is Harold M. Shaw and the two writers are Bannister Merwin (scenario) and Annie Eliot Trumbull (story). This is the story of two families. One rich couple, already older, lives in one house and a younger couple with a handful children lives next door. While the rich older woman likes their neighbors, the old man struggles with them on several occasions and the negative highlight is when the old man's dog dies and he suspects the ones to blame are his neighbors. The beef part felt a bit random, but I liked everything else about this film. It is one of my favorite Christmas films and definitely worth checking out (not only during) the holidays. The depiction of the poor family celebrating without a great Christmas tree and only with very few parents is kinda sad, just like the comment that Santa is poor this year. But it also sends the original message of Christmas out to the people and they are happy that they have each other and are at good health. I especially liked one girl's child performance. Her eyes are so long it melted my heart. But the actor who played the scrooge was pretty good too as was his makeup. The ending is an emotional highlight too and I liked that they did not send a new dog to him, but something much more appropriate. Finally everybody is united and in harmony and that's the way it should be. A silent film classic. Highly recommended.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Very effective and not particularly schmaltzy
MartinHafer4 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Oddly, the copy of this film that I saw said copyright 1897, but this was clearly wrong. Not only were the costumes more like those of 1912, but this complex a story and the camera-work clearly isn't from 1897, but represents a newer generation of film. Additionally, the film was shorter than the 15 minutes listed on IMDb, but this difference could be explained, in part, by the varying speeds at which silent films were cranked (between 16 and 22 frames per second for most films).

As for the story, compared to the usual fare from 1912, this is an exceptionally complex and satisfying story--one that actually is a bit reminiscent of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", believe it or not. The film begins with two families living in a duplex. One consists of a poor but happy mom and dad with their five children. The others are Mr. and Mrs. Gilton who are older and better off financially. Like the Grinch, Mr. Gilton is a grouchy guy and never seems very pleasant in his dealing with his neighbors. However, by the end of the film, a nice but unexpected change comes over him as he visits his poor neighbors with a Christmas turkey.

Despite being very sentimental, the overall product comes off pretty honestly and isn't the least bit schmaltzy. Exceptional production values and good acting (by 1912 standards) make this one well worth watching.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews