For my final Christmas movie of the year, I’d love to tell you I’ve saved something really special, something that offers insight not only into the season, but into the way people felt about it a century ago and how it is similar to how we feel about it today. Instead, I’ve got this movie.
Two pie-faced boys moon over the image of the same bland-looking woman (Grace Morrissey) in a looking glass. In a plot that seems half-borrowed from “The Adventure of the Wrong Santa Claus,” one of them is invited to a Christmas party at her house to play Santa, while the other (Raymond McKee) mistakenly thinks this will be his role. Then, a burglar shows up at the house and tries to steal all the toys (were toys at Christmastime easy to fence or something?). The burglar in this case is “Mulligan,” one of the chauffers that brought the rich kids to the party, and in a nod to social conscience, the plot establishes his desperate situation at home, with a sick wife in need of medicine, as the reason for his attempted misdeeds. In the end, he winds up fighting both Santa Clauses, but being stopped by Jack, the one the girl spurns. Jack gives Muligan some money, in the spirit of Christmas. She still appears to prefer Edward, so I guess cupid wins this round.
As suggested, this is a mostly recycled, light-comedy plot with not too much to recommend it. There are some cute bits, as when the maid points above the head of the butler and the cook, and the camera pulls back slightly to show that they are standing under mistletoe. They both begin to pucker up, look at each other, and run away, Another funny part is Jack standing around his house with a pillow in his pants, waiting to be called to play Santa Claus. I’d be surprised if this was a particularly big money maker for Edison, but the company’s film department was in decline at this point, and even the Edison Trust had been broken up by court order earlier in the year, so it’s probably too much to expect any breakthroughs.
Director: Willard Louis
Cast: Raymond McKee, Grace Morrissey, Billy Casey
Run Time: 15 Min
you can watch it for free: here.