The first film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The short film clocks in at around 12 minutes and focuses more on the psychological angle of the monster’s relationship with Frankenstein.
The short film cuts a lot out of the story written by Mary Shelley. It also focuses less on the monster and more on Frankenstein, unlike the 1931 version of Frankenstein. In the version created by Thomas Edison and J. Searle Dawley, the monster likely only exists in the head of Frankenstein and is an embodiment of his obsession.
The film quality is far superior to that seen in Ben-Hur (1907), and closer to that seen in The Adventures of Dollie (1908). You can tell that more thought went in to how to convey the key points of the story in a way that could be comprehended without the use of sound or intertitles. Edison and Dawley’s Frankenstein is simplified enough and more deliberate with the story, resulting in a better product.
The sequence that stood out the most to me was the way that the monster is “created”. Frankenstein creates a chemical concoction in a cauldron and then we see the creature come together through molecular self-assembly. This is definitely an interesting sequence to watch and pretty advanced looking considering the time.
Directed by: J. Searle Dawley
Cinematography: James White
Produced By: Thomas A. Edison
Written by: J. Searle Dawley
Concept based on the novel Frankenstein, by: Mary Shelley
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Short
Distributed by: Edison Manufacturing Company
Link to Video Below: