Santa Claus (1898)

_Santa Claus

Santa Claus is a 1898 British short silent drama film, directed by George Albert Smith, which features Santa Claus visiting a house on Christmas Eve. The film, according to Michael Brooke of BFI Screenonline, “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.”

A former magic lanternist and hypnotist, Smith was one of the first British film-makers to make extensive use of special effects to create fantastical scenes. It comes as little surprise that Smith corresponded with the French pioneer Georges Méliès at about this time, as the two men shared a common goal in terms of creating an authentic cinema of illusion. (Michael Brooke)

You can watch over 2000 other complete films and TV programmes from the BFI National Archive free of charge at the BFI Mediatheque. There are Mediatheques at BFI Southbank, London, QUAD, Derby, Central Library, Cambridge, Wrexham Library and the Discovery Museum, Newcastle:
http://www.bfi.org.uk/mediatheque
http://www.derbyquad.co.uk/bfi-mediatheque
http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/leisure/libraries/online/bfi_media.htm
http://www.wrexham.gov.uk/english/community/libraries/LibHome.htm
http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/discovery/

–source: british film institute

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