Thursday, March 19, 2009

Frankenstein (1910)

Director: J. Searle Dawley
USA 1910
12 min

Through the Frankensteinia blog by Pierre Fournier (beautiful name, by the way) in Quebec, I found my way to a copy of the first Frankenstein picture ever made. I decided to embed it in a post on my own blog, it was a simply adorable piece of art.

As said, this is the first film adaption of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein (first published 1818), and was made in the Edison Studios, owned by the lightbulb inventor and milestone in film history Thomas A. Edison.
Like Beyond The Rocks from 1922 (my blog post about it here), Frankenstein was considered lost, but a surviving copy of the nitrate film was in the mid 1970's found in the property of an eccentric collector in Wisconsin.

The actors: Mary Fuller, Charles Ogle and Augustus Phillips.

Even though the film often is referred to as "Edison's Frankenstein", he was only the producer and was not the least bit artisically involved in the production. We should instead thank the director J. Searle Dawley and the three actors (how often do you make a film nowadays with only three actors?): Augustus Phillips (Victor Frankenstein), Charles Ogle (the monster) and Mary Fuller (Elizabeth).

In those days films were often made in just one day, but the shooting of Frankestein took up three whole days! Of course, that is due to the complicated make-up and special effects, for example the mirror scene in the end (very effectful!). In this film the monster is, interesting enough, made in a pot with chemicals and potions, and not from different human bodies as usual. That scene was made by setting fire to a dummy, letting it burn down and then play the filmed sequence backwards.

Read more about the trivia of the film in the Frankensteinia blog post The First Frankenstein of the Movies (March 18, 2008).
And now, the film itself:


Jacqueline T Lynch said...

I didn't know there was a 1910 Frankenstein. Thanks for this interesting post, and for letting us have a look at the movie. That was fun.

Lolita said...

Jacqueline T Lynch:
I'm glad I could provide! I was fascinated myself, and if anyone else is too, I'm happy!