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November 25, 2022

Watch the Very First Christmas Movie in 1898 Short Film

Santa Claus is an 1898 British short silent drama film, directed by George Albert Smith, which features Santa Claus visiting a house on Christmas Eve. The film is believed to be the cinema’s earliest known example of parallel action and, when coupled with double-exposure techniques that Smith had already demonstrated in the same year’s The Mesmerist (1898) and Photographing a Ghost (1898), the result is one of the most visually and conceptually sophisticated British films made up to then. It has been described as the very first Christmas movie and a technical marvel of its time.


The mother and infants in this film are played by Smith’s wife Laura Bayley and their two children, Harold and Dorothy. Early film companies were small outfits, and Smith’s was very much a family concern. Smith first became well-known on the stage, with a hypnotism act, before opening a pleasure garden in Hove where he put on magic lantern shows. In 1896 he enthusiastically embraced the new medium of cinema and became one of Britain’s first filmmakers.




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