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A Message from Mars: A Fantastic Comedy in Three Acts (play) (1899)
Avenue Theatre production, West End of London
Very little is given to the background of Ramiel. He is from Mars, where he serves the God of Mars. He appears in the 1913 film Message from Mars, which is considered to be the first British science fiction feature film. Ramiel is a being from Mars sent to reform the most selfish man on Earth.
He is described as: "RAMIEL, HAVING BROKEN ONE OF THE LAWS OF THE KINGDOM, IS COMMANDED BY THE 'GOD OF MARS' TO PROCEED TO EARTH AND REDEEM THE MOST SELFISH OF MORTALS."
Though not deeply described in the 1913 film, it appears that Martians in this tale act as a sort of angelic beings. They have no wings, yet display powers and 'moral' interests similar to those often given to angels in other stories and writings. Presumably, any of them Martians have the same abilities as Ramiel, or may be granted them by the God of Mars.
Motivated to restore his standing in the 'court' of the God of Mars, and retrieve his Ankh jewel worn by all those in favor of the court, Ramiel is subsequently sent to Earth to redeem Horace Parker from his selfishness. Horace's fiance has broken off their engagement due to his pronounced selfishness.
The Messenger from Mars presents several trials to Horace meant to encourage unselfish acts, to which Horace responds grudgingly at first. Ramiel eventually sets Horace right and is restored in the sight of his fellow Martians and the God of Mars. Horace is celebrated for his generosity, and his fiance returns to him. Ramiel has his ankh and his position restored.
Powers and Abilities
Ramiel is invisible to all but Horace, though it is presumed he can become visible to anyone. He sets up situations whereby Horace might be tested, and also he may change the appearance of other people, for example he makes Horace appear as a beggar to others, suggesting reality manipulation. He can teleport instantly. On Mars, he can show Horace's progress through a crystal ball type of apparatus.
- Reality Manipulation
Public domain literary appearances
- A Message from Mars: A Fantastic Comedy in Three Acts (play), Avenue Theatre, West End of London, 1899.
- “‘Starring’ at the Avenue,” Punch, vol. 117, no. ?, 13 Dec. 1899. Review of the play with plot and production information. (HathiTrust)
- “‘A Message from Mars’: Apropos of the 362nd Performance at the Avenue To‐night,” The Sketch, vol. 32, no. 405, 31 Oct. 1900. Multiple photographs of the 1900 West End cast. (HathiTrust)
Public domain movie appearances
- A Message from Mars, Franklyn Barrett, 1903.
- A Message from Mars, by Richard Ganthony and J. Wallett Waller, dir. J. Wallett Waller, prod. Nicholas Ormsby‐Scott, United Kingdom Photoplays, 1913.
- A Message from Mars, by Arthur Maude and Arthur J. Zellner, dir. Maxwell Karger, Metro Pictures Corp., 1921.
- George Sutton Titheradge originated the rôle in the 1899 stage production. In the 1913 film, the Martian Messenger was portrayed by E. Holman Clark. Alphonse Ethier played the Messenger in the 1921 movie.