Frankenstein 1910


I’ve had something of a running theme of humorous movies running on the Friday night/Saturday morning entries around here and I was casting about for one for this week, and got diverted. This isn’t a funny movie, but, it captured my attention and my interest and this is my blog so I’ll post to it anyway.

Over on Movies, Silently, a blog dedicated to silent films, they’ve posed the 1910 Edison production of Frankenstein, which was thought to be lost forever. It’s a fascinating production, partly because of its age, partly because it shows a filmed Frankenstein that stands independent of the Boris Karloff version. The Creature doesn’t look like Karloff’s, nor like something designed to not be Karloff’s.

It’s also got two particularly interesting scenes in its twelve-minute runtime. One is impressive just on its technical prowess: the forming of the Creature is done in a visually striking way that I think would still be effective in a modern production, even if the audience would more quickly recognize the trick. The other is more one of framing: the Creature intrudes on Frankenstein in his lounge, and is first seen opening and entering in a mirror on the right of the screen. The Creature then appears on-screen from the left, which is surprisingly unsettling, and so effective. I’m surprised that staging hasn’t been used more.