Frankenstein (1910)

13:38 mins | Horror | 18 March 1910

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HISTORY

The 2 Apr 1910 Moving Picture World ran the following review: “Mrs. Shelley’s disturbing story, which holds one fascinated even though it has many repulsive situations, is here reproduced in a motion picture in a way that will appeal to those who have never read the story as well as to those who have. It tells of the creation of a monster by one who discovered the mystery of life, and its persistency in dogging its creator’s footsteps until dissolution came about through the force of true love. All the repulsive and disagreeable situations are eliminated, and only the dramatic portions are left. These are vividly and sympathetically acted, holding the interest throughout the film. The formation of the monster in that cauldron of blazing chemicals is a piece of photographic work which will rank with the best of its kind. The entire film is one that will create a new impression of the possibilities of the motion picture as a means of expressing dramatic scenes. Sometimes the value of the motion picture in in reproducing these stories is scarcely realized, yet they will do much for literature in this direction. Very many, for example, will see this picture who have never read the story, and will acquire a lasting impression of its power.”
       An item in the “Edison Notes” column in the 19 Mar 1910 Moving Picture World reported: “The actually repulsive situations in the original version have been carefully eliminated in its visualized form, so that there is no possibility of its shocking any portion of the audience.”
       The intertitle cards read as follows: “Frankenstein leaves for college”; “Two years later Frankenstein has ... More Less

The 2 Apr 1910 Moving Picture World ran the following review: “Mrs. Shelley’s disturbing story, which holds one fascinated even though it has many repulsive situations, is here reproduced in a motion picture in a way that will appeal to those who have never read the story as well as to those who have. It tells of the creation of a monster by one who discovered the mystery of life, and its persistency in dogging its creator’s footsteps until dissolution came about through the force of true love. All the repulsive and disagreeable situations are eliminated, and only the dramatic portions are left. These are vividly and sympathetically acted, holding the interest throughout the film. The formation of the monster in that cauldron of blazing chemicals is a piece of photographic work which will rank with the best of its kind. The entire film is one that will create a new impression of the possibilities of the motion picture as a means of expressing dramatic scenes. Sometimes the value of the motion picture in in reproducing these stories is scarcely realized, yet they will do much for literature in this direction. Very many, for example, will see this picture who have never read the story, and will acquire a lasting impression of its power.”
       An item in the “Edison Notes” column in the 19 Mar 1910 Moving Picture World reported: “The actually repulsive situations in the original version have been carefully eliminated in its visualized form, so that there is no possibility of its shocking any portion of the audience.”
       The intertitle cards read as follows: “Frankenstein leaves for college”; “Two years later Frankenstein has discovered the mystery of life”; “Just before the experiment”; “Instead of a perfect human being the evil in Frankenstein's mind creates a monster”; “Frankenstein appalled at the sight of his evil creation”; “The return home”; “Haunting his creator and jealous of his sweetheart[,] for the first time the monster sees himself”; “On the bridal night Frankenstein’s better nature asserting itself”; and “The creation of an evil mind overcome by love and disappears.”
       A letter that Frankenstein writes to his fiancé, “Elizabeth,” reads as follows: “Sweetheart, Tonight my ambition will be accomplished. I have discovered the secret of life and death and in a few hours I shall create into life the most perfect human being that the world has yet known. When this marvelous work is accomplished I shall then return to claim you for my bride. Your devoted Frankenstein.”
       Frankenstein was filmed at the Edison Studio at the corner of Decatur Avenue and Oliver Place in the Bronx, NY.
       This was the first filmed version of Frankenstein, and for many years it was thought to be lost, but in the 1970s an American collector, Alois “Al” Detlaff (1921-2005), revealed that he had a 35mm nitrate copy. He screened the film for select audiences, but refused to relinquish his copy for restoration during his lifetime. A copy of the film viewed by AFI Catalog was mostly intact and in good condition. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Index
19 Mar 1910
p. 12.
LCMP
p. 21, column 3.
Moving Picture News
26 Mar 1910
p. 15tl.
Moving Picture World
19 Mar 1910
p. 428tn, 436ta, 439tl, 442tl.
Moving Picture World
2 Apr 1910
p. 508tr.
NYDM
26 Mar 1910
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITER
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Frankenstein
or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Woolstonecraft Shelley (London, 1818).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Release Date:
18 March 1910
Copyright Claimant:
Edison Mfg. Co.
Copyright Date:
18 March 1910
Copyright Number:
J139349-J139352
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
13:38
Length(in feet):
975
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

“Frankenstein, a young student, is seen bidding his sweetheart and father goodbye, as he is leaving home to enter a college in order to study the sciences. Shortly after his arrival at college he becomes absorbed in the mysteries of life and death to the extent of forgetting practically everything else. His great ambition is to create a human being, and finally one night his dream is realized. He is convinced that he has found a way to create a most perfect human being that the world has ever seen. We see his experiment commence and the development of it. The formation of the hideous monster from the blazing chemicals of a huge cauldron in Frankenstein’s laboratory is probably the most weird, mystifying and fascinating scene ever shown on a film. To Frankenstein’s horror, instead of creating a marvel of physical beauty and grace, there is unfolded before his eyes and before the audience an awful, ghastly, abhorrent monster. As he realizes what he has done Frankenstein rushes from the room, only to have the misshapen monster peer at him through the curtains of his bed. He falls fainting to the floor, where he is found by his servant, who revives him. After a few weeks’ illness, he returns home, a broken, weary man, but under the loving care of father and sweetheart he regains his health and strength and begins to take a less morbid view of life. In other words, the story of the film brings out the fact that the creation of the monster was only possible because Frankenstein had allowed his normal mind to be overcome by evil and unnatural thoughts. His marriage is soon ... +


“Frankenstein, a young student, is seen bidding his sweetheart and father goodbye, as he is leaving home to enter a college in order to study the sciences. Shortly after his arrival at college he becomes absorbed in the mysteries of life and death to the extent of forgetting practically everything else. His great ambition is to create a human being, and finally one night his dream is realized. He is convinced that he has found a way to create a most perfect human being that the world has ever seen. We see his experiment commence and the development of it. The formation of the hideous monster from the blazing chemicals of a huge cauldron in Frankenstein’s laboratory is probably the most weird, mystifying and fascinating scene ever shown on a film. To Frankenstein’s horror, instead of creating a marvel of physical beauty and grace, there is unfolded before his eyes and before the audience an awful, ghastly, abhorrent monster. As he realizes what he has done Frankenstein rushes from the room, only to have the misshapen monster peer at him through the curtains of his bed. He falls fainting to the floor, where he is found by his servant, who revives him. After a few weeks’ illness, he returns home, a broken, weary man, but under the loving care of father and sweetheart he regains his health and strength and begins to take a less morbid view of life. In other words, the story of the film brings out the fact that the creation of the monster was only possible because Frankenstein had allowed his normal mind to be overcome by evil and unnatural thoughts. His marriage is soon to take place. But one evening, while sitting in his library, he chances to glance in the mirror before him and sees the reflection of the monster which has just opened the door of his room. All the terror of the past comes over him and, fearing lest his sweetheart should learn the truth, he bids the monster conceal himself behind the curtain while he hurriedly induces his sweetheart, who then comes in, to stay only a moment. Then follows a strong, dramatic scene. The monster, who is following his creator with the devotion of a dog, is insanely jealous of anyone else. He snatches from Frankenstein’s coat the rose which his sweetheart has given him, and in the struggle throws Frankenstein to the floor. Here the monster looks up and for the first time confronts his own reflection in the mirror. Appalled and horrified at his own image he flees in terror from the room. Not being able, however, to live apart from his creator, he again comes to the house on the wedding night and, searching for the cause of his jealousy, goes into the bride’s room. Frankenstein coming into the main room hears a shriek of terror, which is followed a moment after by his bride rushing in and falling in a faint at his feet. The monster then enters and after overpowering Frankenstein’s feeble efforts by a slight exercise of his gigantic strength leaves the house. Here comes the point which we have endeavored to bring out, namely: That when Frankenstein’s love for his bride shall have attained full strength and freedom from impurity it will have such an effect upon his mind that the monster cannot exist. This theory is clearly demonstrated in the next and closing scene, which has probably never been surpassed in anything shown on the moving picture screen. The monster, broken down by his unsuccessful attempts to be with his creator, enters the room, stands before a large mirror and holds out his arms entreatingly. Gradually, the real monster fades away, leaving only the image in the mirror. A moment later Frankenstein himself enters. As he stands directly before the mirror we are amazed to see the image of the monster reflected instead of Frankenstein’s own. Gradually, however, under the effect of love and his better nature, the monster's image fades and Frankenstein sees himself in his young manhood in the mirror. His bride joins him, and the film ends with their embrace, Frankenstein’s mind now being relieved of the awful horror and weight it has been laboring under for so long.”—19 Mar 1910 The Film Index +

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