UK, 1904 500 feet 35mm film, black and white silent
A British horror film directed by Percy Stow.
A young bride playfully hides during her wedding celebrations but disappears. Many years later, her widower, still heartbroken, sees her ghost seeming to emerge from a locked chest. Forcing it open, he finds inside the skeleton of his long lost love.
Though not as popular as Faust (eight versions) or Maria Marten (five versions), The Mistletoe Bough was stiill popular enough to inspire four British screen adaptations, of which this the first. The source for this particular strand of inspiration is a verse by Thomas Haynes Bayley (1797-1839), an ill-regarded writer of sentimental ballads and popular plays whose reputation faded quickly when the public’s appetite for such things waned. Whatever his standing now, Bayley was still sufficiently popular in 1904 for Percy Stow to invest his time and talent (not to mention the financial resources of his recently formed Clarendon company) in a screen version of the ballad. Stow was another of the great pioneering figures of British film, specialising in comedy, and his macabre adaptation of Bayley’s work is atypical.
British Film Catalogue by Denis Gifford 00973 p.36 – credits
Horror in Silent Films: A Filmography, 1896-1929 by Roy Kinnard p.18
Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.309 – credits