With a plot similar to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Richard Ganthoney's A Message from Mars was a hugely successful satirical play. It was made into a four-reel picture in 1913 in the U.K., and after finally acquiring the rights in the U.S., Metro filmed it as a feature in 1921. Bert Lytell stars as Horace Parker, "the most selfish man on earth." He's such a snob that even his fiancee, Minnie Talbot (Raye Dean) turns her back on him. But on Christmas Eve, a messenger from Mars (Alphonz Ethier, in a bizarre, scaly costume) comes to Earth to show Parker the error of his ways. The two of them become invisible and eavesdrop on all the terrible -and true -- things Parker's friends and family are saying about him. Then the Martian changes him into a tramp so that he can show him the suffering of the poor, and the misfortunes of those he could have helped, but didn't. When all this finally hits home, the Martian returns home and Parker changes his ways. He saves a woman from a burning building, welcomes homeless souls into his home and becomes an all-around good guy. Minnie takes him back and all is well.
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