Frankenstein – 1910. Dir. J. Searle Dowley. Starring Augustus Phillips, Mary Fuller, and Charles Ogle.
That I can even watch this movie is nothing short of a miracle. Originally thought to be lost, the 1910 production of Frankenstein is the first film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel. When the movie first came out, the cast wasn’t even billed. The only reason I’m able to put it is because the version I found on Youtube did all of the homework for me and actually added in the “Players” and the director. This telling of Frankenstein is quite a bit different than the novel. For starters, Frankenstein doesn’t gather pieces of corpses to create the monster. Instead, he sort of cooks him in a giant furnace. The stop motion here is pretty amazing for the time and for some reason, is actually a little creepy to watch; something like someone melting in reverse. Also, when the creature first see’s Frankenstein, there’s no real sign of hate or revulsion from the monster (that would become the staple of future incarnations). It’s put pretty simply that Frankenstein reviled the creature he had created. Additionally, the film seems more to make the creature out to be a doppelganger of Frankenstein, rather than an actual physical being. There’s a pretty neat mirror scene that demonstrates this effect pretty nicely. At 12 minutes, it tells an extremely abridged version of the story, and is worth checking out (below!) and having been made in 1910, makes it the second oldest “Motion Picture” with an actual store I’ve ever scene (after the 1904 movie A Trip to the Moon by Georges Méliès). All in all, there’s not much in this movie I can even riff on.
Scare Factor: 1/5
Number of Living Actors: 0/3
Overall : 3/5