The Info List - The Christmas Angel

Détresse et Charité, released in the United States as The Christmas Angel and in Britain as The Beggar Maiden, is a 1904 French short silent film directed by Georges Méliès. It was released by Méliès's Star Film Company and is numbered 669–677 in its catalogues.[1]


1 Plot 2 Production 3 References 4 External links

Plot[edit] At Christmastime, a girl and her family live in poverty; the girl's mother is ill and bedridden. The father asks the girl to go to nearby Paris, and beg for alms. The girl finds a church, but she is pushed aside by the professional beggars working on its steps, and is unable to get alms. She tries to ask for food at a bakery, but is thrown out again. As night falls, she collapses and falls asleep; a rag-and-bone man takes pity on her, shares his piece of bread with her, and gives her his shawl. After thanking the rag-and-bone man and saying goodbye, the girl moves on. Alone in a snowstorm, she collapses again. Two endings for the film were made. In the version for French audiences, the beggar girl freezes to death after her collapse, and her soul is brought to Heaven by the Christmas Angel of the title. In the version for British and American audiences, a rich couple passing by in an automobile rescue the girl, bring her home, and lavish gifts upon her family. As the film historian Elizabeth Ezra has noted, "these differences suggest that the American audience's predilection for a happy ending was already well in place by the turn of the century."[2] Production[edit]

The bakery set, designed in cross-section

Méliès plays three roles in the film: the rag-and-bone man, a beggar on crutches, and a coal seller. The main role of the beggar girl is played by Rachel Gillet. (According to the American catalogue, which repeatedly emphasizes that the film is set in Paris, the character's name is Marie.) The automobile seen in the British and American ending was reused in Méliès's later film An Adventurous Automobile Trip.[3] The film leans more heavily on realism than is usual for Méliès, pointing to his attempts to change his fantasy-driven style to fit popular cinema trends.[2] Special effects used in the film include pyrotechnics, artificial snow, superimpositions, and dissolves.[3] The film is also notable for including a cross-section set, allowing Méliès to show both the inside and the outside of the bakery; other Méliès films featuring cross-section scenery include The Impossible Voyage, A Roadside Inn, The Chimney Sweep, and Tunnelling the English Channel.[4] Another scenic effect occurs when the rag-and-bone man comes across the beggar girl; when he turns on his lantern to get a better look at her, a simulated stream of light, painted in white on the scenery, is added using a substitution splice.[5] A stencil-colored print of the film is held at the Filmoteca de Catalunya. It is unknown whether Méliès authorized the coloring, as the stencil process is highly unusual in his oeuvre;[6] normally, his films were colored using an entirely freehand method supervised by the colorist Elisabeth Thuillier.[7] References[edit]

^ Malthête, Jacques; Mannoni, Laurent (2008), L'oeuvre de Georges Méliès, Paris: Éditions de La Martinière, pp. 334–356, ISBN 9782732437323  ^ a b Ezra, Elizabeth (2000), Georges Méliès, Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 61–2, ISBN 0-7190-5395-1  ^ a b Essai de reconstitution du catalogue français de la Star-Film; suivi d'une analyse catalographique des films de Georges Méliès recensés en France, Bois d'Arcy: Service des archives du film du Centre national de la cinématographie, 1981, pp. 210–212, ISBN 2903053073, OCLC 10506429  ^ Delavaud, Gilles (1997), "Méliès et Chaplin, du cinema d'attractions au film-attraction", in Malthête, Jacques; Marie, Michel, Georges Méliès, l'illusionniste fin de siècle?: actes du colloque de Cerisy-la-Salle, 13–22 août 1996, Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne nouvelle, p. 368  ^ Thompson, Kristin (11 February 2010), "Observations on film art: DVDs for these long winter evenings", David Bordwell's Website on Cinema, retrieved 1 April 2015  ^ Malthête, Jacques (2013), "Un nitrate composite en couleurs : le Voyage dans la Lune de Georges Méliès, reconstitué en 1929", 1895, 71, doi:10.4000/1895.4784, retrieved 2 January 2017  ^ Yumibe, Joshua (2012), Moving Color: Early Film, Mass Culture, Modernism, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, pp. 48, 75 

External links[edit]

The Christmas Angel on IMDb

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Georges Méliès

Films 1896–1899

Actualities (1896–1900) Playing Cards (1896) Conjuring (1896) Watering the Flowers (1896) Arrival of a Train at Vincennes Station (1896) The Rag-Picker (1896) Post No Bills (1896) The Rescue on the River (1896) A Terrible Night (1896) A Lightning Sketch (1896) Conjurer Making Ten Hats in Sixty Seconds (1896) A Serpentine Dance (1896) Miss de Vère (English Jig) (1896) The Vanishing Lady (1896) The Haunted Castle (1896) A Nightmare (1897) Comedian Paulus Singing (1897) A Funny Mahometan (1897) An Hallucinated Alchemist (1897) The Haunted Castle (1897) On the Roofs (1897) Reconstructed newsreels (1897–1902) The Last Cartridges (1897) The Surrender of Tournavos (1897) Sea Fighting in Greece (1897) Gugusse and the Automaton (1897) Between Calais and Dover (1897) The Laboratory of Mephistopheles (1897) The Bewitched Inn (1897) After the Ball (1897) Divers at Work on the Wreck of the "Maine" (1898) The Magician (1898) The Famous Box Trick (1898) Pygmalion and Galatea (1898) Adventures of William Tell (1898) The Astronomer's Dream (1898) The Cave of the Demons (1898) The Four Troublesome Heads (1898) The Temptation of Saint Anthony (1898) Robbing Cleopatra's Tomb (1899) The Devil in a Convent (1899) The Pillar of Fire (1899) The Clown and Automobile (1899) A Mysterious Portrait (1899) Christ Walking on the Water (1899) The Dreyfus Affair (1899) Cinderella (1899) The Mysterious Knight (1899)

Films 1900–1905

Addition and Subtraction (1900) The Cook's Revenge (1900) The Misfortunes of an Explorer (1900) Paris Exposition, 1900 (1900) The One-Man Band (1900) Joan of Arc (1900) The Rajah's Dream (1900) The Two Blind Men (1900) Thanking the Audience (1900) The Christmas Dream (1900) Fat and Lean Wrestling Match (1900) A Fantastical Meal (1900) Going to Bed Under Difficulties (1900) The Doctor and the Monkey (1900) China Versus Allied Powers (1900) The Brahmin and the Butterfly (1900–01) Red Riding Hood (1900–01) The Magician's Cavern (1901) Excelsior! (1901) The Sacred Fountain (1901) Bluebeard (1901) The Man with the Rubber Head (1901) The Eruption of Mount Pelee (1902) The Catastrophe of the Balloon "Le Pax" (1902) A Trip to the Moon (1902) The Shadow-Girl (1902) The Coronation of Edward VII (1902) The Treasures of Satan (1902) Gulliver's Travels Among the Lilliputians and the Giants (1902) Robinson Crusoe (1902) The Enchanted Well (1903) The Inn Where No Man Rests (1903) The Oracle of Delphi (1903) A Spiritualistic Photographer (1903) The Melomaniac (1903) The Monster (1903) The Kingdom of the Fairies (1903) The Infernal Cauldron (1903) The Damnation of Faust (1903) A Wager Between Two Magicians, or Jealous of Myself (1904) Faust and Marguerite (1904) The Barber of Seville (1904) The Wonderful Rose-Tree (1904) The Impossible Voyage (1904) The Christmas Angel (1904) The Living Playing Cards (1905) The Palace of the Arabian Nights (1905) An Adventurous Automobile Trip (1905) Rip's Dream (1905) The Inventor Crazybrains and His Wonderful Airship (1905)

Films 1906–1912

A Mix-up in the Gallery (1906) The Chimney Sweep (1906) A Desperate Crime (1906) The Merry Frolics of Satan (1906) The Mysterious Retort (1906) Robert Macaire and Bertrand (1906) Under the Seas (1907) How Bridget's Lover Escaped (1907) Tunnelling the English Channel (1907) The Eclipse, or the Courtship of the Sun and Moon (1907) Hamlet (1907) Shakespeare Writing "Julius Caesar" (1907) Satan in Prison (1907) Humanity Through the Ages (1908) Why That Actor Was Late (1908) Long Distance Wireless Photography (1908) A Fake Diamond Swindler (1908) The Miser (1908) A Love Tragedy in Spain (1908) Mishaps of the New York–Paris Race (1908) The Woes of Roller Skaters (1908) French Cops Learning English (1908) Fun With the Bridal Party (1908) Buncoed Stage Johnnie (1908) Honeymoon in a Balloon (1908) Fortune Favors the Brave (1908) Seein' Things (1908) The Diabolic Tenant (1909) Whimsical Illusions (1909) The Spider and the Butterfly (1909) Baron Munchausen's Dream (1911) Cinderella or the Glass Slipper (1912) The Conquest of the Pole (1912) The Knight of the Snows (1912) The Voyage of the Bourrichon Family (1912)


Filmography Bibliography Georges Méliès in culture Le Grand Méliès (1952 documentary) The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007 book) Hugo (2011 film) Jehanne d'Alcy (wife) Gaston Méli