Saturday, February 23, 2013

Frankenstein. (1910) J. Searle Dawley

Monster from a Vat for A Black and White February.

This is a DVD I've had laying around for a few years, but I only took a look at it last night. It's a sixteen-minute silent from 1910, produced by Thomas Edison's very own Edison Studios. It's history's first Frankenstein film, created twenty-one year's in front of James Whale's masterpiece, which I've written about earlier here.

Of notable interest are the creation of the misshapen monster (in a prolonged early scene the monster rises from some kind of vat, a reddish tint being added to this section of the movie), and its unique ending (the monster somehow escaping into a mirror to protect his creator's love). There is inherent symbolism indicating that the monster is a part of Dr. Frankenstein's evil nature (history's first Tyler Durden), but whether it is psychological or an actual physical manifestation is hard to say.

This is scratchy, grainy, jumpy, early film at its silent finest. Its take on the monster is quite different from Whale's adaptation, and any Frankenstein monster we've seen since.

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