The Christmas Angel (1904)

Originally titled Détresse et Charité (Distress and Charity), this short from French film-maker Georges Méliès tells the tale of a little beggar girl who collapses in the snow. There were two versions made for French and American audiences, each with differing endings. In the American version (shown above) the little girl is saved by passing automobilists who shower her family in gifts, a distinctly more Hollywood-style happy ending than the version shown to the French in which the girl dies and is carried off to heaven by a "Christmas Angel".


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