Written and directed by J. Searle Dawley and made by Edison Studios, Frankenstein is a 1910 film which is the first motion picture adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.
The 16-minute short film was shot in three days at the Edison Studios, and the production was deliberately designed to de-emphasize the horrific aspects of the story and focus on the story’s mystical and psychological elements.
According to Fright, this movie is the holy grail of horror films. The Edison Co. made changes in the original story because they thought that some of the parts from the novel would be repulsive to the audience.
It is a must for anyone interested in the evolution of horror cinema. The movie begins with young doctor Frankenstein going to college and two years later he discovers the “Mystery of Life.”
He writes a letter to his fiancé to inform her that he will create the world’s first Perfect Human Being and after he is finished with his project he will return home to her. But his project creates a monster instead. When he sees his creation, Frankenstein is horrified and retreats to his bedroom. The creature has big bushy hair; it is very tall with big feet and a large forehead.
Frankenstein returns to his fiancé, and the monster follows his steps. He is jealous of Frankenstein’s perfect love, and on the night of Frankenstein’s wedding, his fiance spots the monster in the living room and faints. The creature goes into Frankenstein bedroom, looks itself in the mirror and apparently “smothered by love”, disappears.
This film was believed to be lost for many years. In 1963, a plot description and stills were discovered published on March 15th, 1910, issue of the film catalog, The Edison Kinetogram. A print of this film was purchased by a Wisconsin film collector Alois F. Dettlaff in the early 1950s.
He had a 35 mm preservation copy made in the late 1970s and he also issued a DVD release of 1, 000 copies. The existence of this film was firstly revealed in the mid-1970s, in a good condition, completed with titles and tints as seen in 1910. BearManor Media released the public domain film in a restored edition on March 18th, 2010.