2010 09 14 On Thinking in Trilogies

That influence, however, cannot be ignored, as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein along with Bram Stoker’s Dracula are the two works of literature that have been the most influential on the cinema of horror. The Films Frankenstein (1910), Frankenstein first made it to the cinema in 1910, in a short film of slightly more than 12 minutes in length. Filmed at the Edison Studios in the Bronx in 8 Classic Horror Films and the Literature That Inspired Them New York City, the movie was thought lost for many years.


Indeed, the only part of the film that seemed to survive was a publicity still from an Edison catalog showing Charles Ogle playing the monster. However, a fairly good copy of the short was finally located in a private collection and the film played to the general public, for the first time in over eight decades, in 1993. The movie is now often referred to as Edison’s Frankenstein. One would not expect that a short, silent movie would follow the novel very closely and it does not.


Indeed, the first title card reads, “A Liberal Adaptation From Mrs. Shelley’s Famous Story For Edison Production.” In looking at the short film from the perspective of 100 years later, while the story and the production are primitive, indicative of the year in which the film was produced, the creation scene is actually quite impressive, with the creature coming together as its basic elements meld into one form in a fiery cauldron, seemingly resulting more from magic than science.