AWESOME-tober-fest 2009: The Thomas Edison Frankenstein movie
Welcome to Day 1 of Frakenstein movie week. Last week I looked at different novels and comic books that featured the Frankenstein monster. This week, I’ll be looking at different movies that feature the Frankenstein monster.
I’m going to start with the first movie to adapt Mary Shelley’s novel. Filmed in 1910, today we are looking at Thomas Edison’s Frankenstein.
Created by Edison Studios in New York, this was the first filmed adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel. Also, since horror as a genre didn’t exist in 1910, this also marks the first horror movie ever produced. At the time of its release, the film was censored and banned as being too frightening and weird (David Lynch would probably have been shot, burned and drowned as a witch in 1910).
Shortly after release, the film was taken out of circulation and prints were scattered. Some to collectors, some to be destroyed. The film became so lost that when Universal’s 1931 Frankenstein was released, Edison’s film was never even mentioned. For many years it was thought that this silent film had been lost for good. No copies could be found anywhere. Then, in 1963 a film historian discovered the above Edison Studios catalog with details and accompanying pictures of Edison’s production and a frantic search was begun to find the missing cinematic treasure. The film never turned up in over 20 years. Then, in the late ’70s, it was learned that a film collector, Alois Detlaff, had the only remaining copy in his collection. Rights and money issues are still keeping this film from being released in theaters or on home video. There is a version of the movie that was filmed from the projected image. You can see it here. It’s a short, silent film, but fascinating to watch as an example of EARLY, early filmmaking.
That’s Day 1 of Frankenstein movie week. Check back tomorrow as I review the Boris Karloff Frankenstein movies from Universal.
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.