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The Night Before Christmas

Santa Claus at the end of the film
Directed by Edwin S. Porter
Written by Clement Clarke Moore (poem)
Cinematography Edwin S. Porter
Distributed by Edison Manufacturing Company
Release date(s) 16 December 1905
Running time 9 minutes
Country USA
Language English

The Night Before Christmas is a 1905 American silent short film directed by Edwin S. Porter for the Edison Manufacturing Company.[1] It closely follows Clement Clarke Moore's 1882 poem Twas the Night Before Christmas, and was the first film production of the poem.[2][3]


Plot summary

Scenes are introduced using lines of the poem.[2] Santa Claus is shown feeding real reindeer[4] and finishes his work in the workshop. Meanwhile, the children of a city household hang their stockings and go to bed, but unable to sleep they engage in a pillow fight. Santa Claus leaves his home on a sleigh with his reindeer. He enters the children's house through the chimney, and leaves the presents. The children come down the stairs and enjoy their presents.


1,670ft of film was shot, with 798ft used.[2] A panoramic shot of Santa Claus riding his sleigh over hills and the moon was shot using miniatures and a painted backdrop.[1] The film is available on the Kino DVD A Christmas Past.[4][3]


  1. ^ a b Musser, Charles (1991). Before the nickelodeon: Edwin S. Porter and the Edison Manufacturing Company. University of California Press. ISBN 0520069862.  
  2. ^ a b c Musser, Charles (1994). The emergence of cinema: the American screen to 1907. Volume 1 of History of the American cinema. University of California Press. ISBN 0520085337.  
  3. ^ a b "A Christmas Past". Kino Video. Retrieved 4 January 2010.  
  4. ^ a b Atkinson, Michael; Laurel Shifrin (2007). "Christmas". Flickipedia: Perfect Films for Every Occasion, Holiday, Mood, Ordeal, and Whim. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 1556527144.  

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