Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry X-Day

Santa Claus (1898)

Made in 1898, G.A. Smith's 'Santa Claus' is a film of considerable technical ambition and accomplishment for its period. It uses pioneering visual effects in its depiction of a visit from St. Nicholas.

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 1000 other complete films and TV programmes from the BFI National Archive free of charge in the Mediatheque at BFI Southbank, London and from October 2008 at the new QUAD centre for art and film in Derby --