A Silent Film FrankensteinPosted: October 2, 2013
Just a quick one today. The Durmoose Movie Musings blog is running a 31 Days of Halloween mini-blog-film-fest, which I plan to follow as much as I have time to (luckily, it looks like he’s going mostly for shorts). Since his second offering was The Golem (which I recently posted about), obviously he’s got good taste….
His first offering was the 100 year old silent version of Frankenstein, produced by Edison Studios. Those of us who are familiar with Frankenstein mostly through film or television versions tend to define the monster by Boris Karloff’s flat-headed, stitched-together interpretation. And we think of the monster’s creation in terms of James Whale’s Tesla (and Der Golem) inspired electric lab. So it’s interesting to see the Edison version, where Dr. Frankenstein creates the monster by mixing together a bunch of herbs (well, probably chemicals, but I like to think that they’re herbs) and tossing them into a cauldron that I assume holds the body to be animated, and then letting it simmer. It’s like Macbeth’s witches.
The “come-to-life” scene is pretty cool, and there are some cute 1910-era special effects at the end involving mirrors. Mirrors are a big motif in this movie. And best of all — for the busy — it’s only fifteen minutes long.
If perchance you’d like to enjoy this on your own device, rather than youtube, the movie is public domain and available at archive.org. Also, if you have more than fifteen minutes, please do also enjoy James Whale’s definitive 1931 version of movie Frankenstein. There’s a version (with Spanish subtitles), on Vimeo.