March 18, 2010

The Edison Frankenstein: 100 Years Ago Today

If you’ve never seen it, now’s the time. Here, 100 years to the day after it was first released, is the Edison Frankenstein. Hang in, the picture quality gets better after the first few moments.

As would become usual for a Frankenstein film, The Monster steals the show. Its ingredients mixed in a saucepan, and eerily burned to life in a tub, Charles Ogle shuffles around on big bandaged feet, skulks menacingly, rears up in surprise and strikes hieroglyphic poses. With crooked claw pantomime, he points towards Elizabeth just gone offscreen, then to himself. The Monster demands a mate.

The film is theatrical, you almost expect a curtain to go up and down between tableaux, but the mirror scene is very inventive, characters appearing in the mirror before they step onscreen, and the dissolving reflections are simple, early, but very effective special effects.



wich2 said...

After years of seeing only that one silly-looking Kinetogram still, I was amazed at how effective Ogle actually looked in the film itself - and fairly "Shelleyesque," to boot.

-Craig ("I played him in audio, where YOU build the image") W.

Max the drunken severed head said...

The very talented collage artist John Rozum has posted his rendering of the Ogle Monster. As usual, he has done a magnificent job.

Check it out here:

Christopher said...

I think the other Frankenstein films missed an opportunity for a good scare by not including a "peering thru the bed curtain"scene.Thats one of the few moments in the book that creeps me out,the fear of the unknown, being closed in and blinded by drapes,only hearing the noise of someone(thing)approaching closer and closer,the anticipation of the curtain being pulled back..

wich2 said...

If I recall aright, that scene IS in one of the best:



Jim said...

for years it seemed like only 1 still existed. anything on your blog about life without soul?

Pierre Fournier said...

Jim: I mentioned LIFE WITHOUT SOUL briefly here: