“The Little Match Seller” is a short story by Hans Christian Anderson. Originally written in 1846, it has been turned into several different short films. It is the story of a little girl selling matches on the streets during a snowy winter’s day. Unfortunately, it will only be getting colder. But when night begins to fall, and people return to their warm homes, she is still outside with no food or warmth to sustain her. With nowhere to go, she sits against a building and begins to strike one match after another to keep herself warm. With each match struck, she sees beautiful visions dancing before her eyes.
The tale has been adapted into various shorts and mentioned in TV shows. Here are just some of the shorts that have been developed about this tale.
The Little Match Seller (1902)
This silent, black and white version is the oldest film version on record. The filmography is very simplistic. There are no close-ups or changing camera angles, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect much more from a film made in 1902.
The Little Match Girl (1937)
This is one of the most incredible cartoons that I have ever seen. They just don’t make them like this anymore. It feels like an old Merry Melody or Silly Symphony cartoon, because it has a music component added to it. From start to finish, this adaptation sucks you in as the little girl’s fantasies become grander and grander…until the final match burns out. While it has many differences from the source material, it still captures the essence of the original story.
Over on YouTube, the video has been posted and the poster has this to say in the description:
This is an amazing and a emotionally powerful cartoon! This cartoon of “The Little Match Girl” was shown on TV recently. After checking the history of this video, I learned that this recent version is missing the last 2 minutes. The first 6:36 is the cartoon as it was shown, and I added the missing 2 minutes afterwards.
This cartoon was released in 1937 and was nominated for an academy award in the category of “Best Short Subject Cartoon.”
‘The Little Matchgirl:’ A Disney version
I thought this cartoon was too Disneyfied for its own good. While I respect the Disney company, I thought they should have made the girl’s suffering more apparent. She is, after all, supposed to be hallucinating as a result of hypothermia and hunger.
However, it’s nice that this version has such a hopeful ending for the little girl. The loving grandmother at the end plays such a prominent role in this version. It’s heartbreaking that the matchgirl is not cared for on earth, and showing her receiving a little love makes her plight a bit easier to take.
This video can be watched on YouTube for $1.99 and runs under seven minutes long.