Frankenstein (1910)

Frankenstein (1910)

This is the very first motion picture adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, made by Thomas Edison's film company in 1910. It was written and directed by J. Searle Dawley, and filmed in three days at the Edison Studios in New York City.

Frankenstein goes to college to study medicine. He discovers the secret of life, and tries to create a perfect human being, however he ends up creating a monster. He runs away in horror, and the monster starts following him and becomes jealous of Frankenstein's bride.

Storyline   ★★★☆☆
This is one of the first movies based on a fictional story. Most of the movies of the period showed entertainment acts, such as acrobats, music hall performers, and boxing demonstrations, or everyday scenes, such as rides on moving trains, often referred to as "phantom rides". This is from the period where films were just over 10 minutes in length.

This Frankenstein adaptation has very little in common with the original story, and it lacks it's complex themes. On the other hand it introduces a new theme, that the monster born from Frankenstein's obsession with the dark mysteries of life and death, is literally, the living physical representation of the evil in Frankenstein's soul. The only way to destroy the monster is for Frankenstein to purify himself from evil, and fill his soul with love.

Visuals   ★☆☆☆☆
This is a silent movie shot in black and white. Some parts of the print are not very well preserved, but it's still very watchable. Tints are used to separate scenes, but at one point the tint changes mid scene, to denote a change in the scene's tone.

This is the only Frankenstein film where the monster is created using chemicals and potions. The creation scene was made by filming a monster-dummy burning, and then playing the footage backwards. All films that followed show Frankenstein assemble body parts from various corpses to make the monster.

Steampunk Factor   ★☆☆☆☆
There are no steam-powered machines here, or machines of any kind. The only thing of interest to Steampunks is that this movie was made at the end of the Edwardian Era.

Final Verdict   ★★☆☆☆
A movie made in 1910 with an interesting theme, and a new take on the creation of the monster. Feel like an Edwardian movie goer for 13 minutes!

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