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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 The setting is simple, but it works because the homes still don't look too out of date, and because the domestic concerns and disagreements are the familiar types of things that often arise between neighbors if there happen to be underlying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.
It's about two families living side by side in a duplex. One family is
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.
"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
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.
*** This review may contain 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.
When A CHRISTMAS ACCIDENT causes a mean old man to enter
the wrong home, he is taught the true meaning of the Yuletide
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.
*** This review may contain 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.
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