Yes, as of today Frankenstein has been a fixture in American cinema for 100 years. The first film version of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel first saw the light of a projector bulb on March 18, 1910. Predating the better known Boris Karloff version by 21 years, this film was directed by J. Searle Dawley and starred Augustus Phillips as Frankenstein (no first name) and Charles Ogle as the monster. It was produced by Edison Studios, although according to Wikipedia Thomas Edison had no direct involvement in the film. You can see this early example of horror cinema after the jump.

To commemorate the occasion Pierre Fournier is presenting a week of relevant posts on his Frankensteinia blog. For an in depth article on the Edison Frankenstein, check out Fournier's posting "The First Frankenstein of the Movies" which was his first post of the week.
Eschewing the notion of stitching together a monster from parts of various corpses, the creation sequence in the 1910 film shows the monster forming in a cauldron. The effect is achieved by burning a crude dummy and running the film in reverse. CGI it ain't, but at the time it was miracle enough just to see images moving. Picture quality is pretty bad for the first few minutes but it soon clears up considerably. The movie clocks in at just under 13 minutes so it's worth investing a little time to get to know this little slice of film history.

categories Cinematical