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"Frankenstein" (J. Searle Dawley, 1910)

General Information

This very first film adaptation of Frankenstein had the status of 'lost film' for years, but now an original copy of the print (the last known surviving one!) has been found and restored.

Although it is not on current release, you can pre-order this film, together with a Dracula adaptation from 1922, from the web site of LRS Marketing.

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Director: J. Searle Dawley
Producer: Thomas Edison
Runtime: 15 minutes Black & White

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The Monster: Charles Ogle
Victor Frankenstein: Ausgustus Phillips
Elizabeth Lavenza-Frankenstein: Mary Fuller

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The film opens with Victor Frankenstein saying goodbye to his father and Elizabeth as he is leaving for College. He becomes fascinated with the mysteries of life and death and quickly realises his dream: to create of a human being. When his creation is an abhorrent monster instead of the intended perfect human being, Victor flees the room.

He returns home and regains his former self with the help of his father and Elizabeth. One evening, when he is resting in the library the monster reappears. Jealous about Victor's attachment to Elizabeth, the monster snatches a rose from Victor jacket. He also catches his own reflection in the mirror and is appalled by his own appearance after which he leaves the house.

The monster is not able to let go of his creator and returns the evening of Victor and Elizabeth's wedding. He goes into the bride's room where Elizabeth faints at the sight of him. Victor is so overpowered by his love of the good (Elizabeth) that the evil (the Monster) cannot exist. Then follows the crucial scene: the monster is seen looking into the mirror but the image of him gradually fades away. Victor enters and when he looks into the same mirror, the monster's instead of Victor's reflection is seen. But focussing on the good in him, the reflection gradually changes into Victor's. The film ends with the embrace of Victor and Elizabeth, both relieved that the evil forces have conquered.

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Due to copyright reasons I cannot publish the picture stills here but you can see them at the web site of the copyright holder (opens a new window).

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