Entomologists are often accused of failure to grow up. As adults, Entomologists maintain the same childhood fascination for insects. Entomologists like to share their fascination with others. In 1910, Władysław Starewicz was Director of the Museum of Natural History in Kovno, Lithuania. He made 4 live action videos for the museum. His fifth was to be a battle between stag beetles. However, the beetles are nocturnal and were uncooperative under the bright film lights. (They went to sleep).
Not to be denied, Starewicz created a stag beetle battle using stop motion animation in his short film, Lucanus Cervus. (Lucanus cervus is a well known stag beetle.) For these films, Starewicz used wires and wax to pose beetles (and parts of beetles) for his film.
From 1910 until his death in 1965, Starewicz made many stop-action animation films in Russia and later, in France. His fascination with insects continued and he used insects as his subjects in many films. Perhaps his films were somewhat misunderstood by a general public that is often squeamish about (if not disgusted by) insects. Eric Schneider has an interesting article on the film career of Starewicz in AWM. Starewicz was at the forefront of using insects as subjects in animated films for children, a trend that continues to this day.
In 1911, Starewicz made a stop action film about Father Christmas climbing down from his Christmas tree to bring joy to the insects. The insects depicted are familiar and non-threatening to children as they engage in anthropomorphic activities. The original film was silent (sound technology was not then available). English subtitles were added to a version released in 1913. This version, available on Youtube, has added a music score. It is hard to believe that this film was made 100 years ago.
For the past several years, I have played this classic for my introductory Entomology class. I hope you enjoy this whimsical film.