6.6/10
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5 user 3 critic

The Little Match Seller (1902)

In front of a windowless, soot-blackened brick wall on a snowy evening, a young girl wearing one shoe, a dress, and apron, tries to sell matches. She has no buyers. A cheeky lad comes by ... See full summary »

Director:

James Williamson

Writer:

Hans Christian Andersen (fable)
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Storyline

In front of a windowless, soot-blackened brick wall on a snowy evening, a young girl wearing one shoe, a dress, and apron, tries to sell matches. She has no buyers. A cheeky lad comes by and steals her shoe, right off her foot. A lamplighter passes. She huddles by the wall, lighting a match from time to time, and through the brick she can see a series of visions: a roaring fireplace, a table with a roasted turkey, a Christmas tree, a beckoning woman with a kindly face. As night passes, the child sleeps. Is there any rescue for her? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Drama | Short

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Details

Country:

UK

Release Date:

21 March 1903 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Den lille Pige med Svovlstikkerne See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was used as the video for the Cyndi Lauper song December Child. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Magic Lantern Show
25 December 2012 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Other reviewers have covered the issues of the story and methods used for this short film by Williamson. What they fail to notice -- or at least note -- is that the editing is not primitive. It is highly advanced editing techniques from Magic Lantern Shows -- the technological show medium preceding the movies. The scenes and people that the match seller imagines as she lights her dwindling supply of matches are shown inset behind her. How was this achieved? It might be projected, it might be a mask or it might be by removing a scrim.

The method of achieving this is not important: the inset image to show a character's thoughts was a standard of magic lanterns, largely supplanted by a wipe and either a change of color or focus in films. The technique is not extinct; it is still used occasionally, most recently to my knowledge in Jeunet's UN LONG DIMANCHE DE FIANCAILLES.


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