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.