Friday, October 26, 2007
31 Days of Halloween - Day 26 - Movie 2
In 1910, Thomas Edison's movie company produced a short, silent, film loosely based on Mary Shelley's novel "Frankenstein." the movie's plot is very simple, Frankenstein, a young medical student artificially creates a monster, which torments him, becomes jealous of Frankenstein's fiancee, then after encountering the couple becomes so overcome by their love that he literally vanishes, as if he were only a figment of Frankenstein's imagination.
The film, directed by J. Searle Dawley, is filled with strangely composed static shots. These are not avante garde compositions, but just odd decisions to have half of the frame taken up by a mirror, and having the actors interact with one another with the mirror often acting as a medium (perhaps so that both actors faces would be visible simultaneously by the audience). None of the performances are very memorable, though the monster has a nice look to him.
Most of the movie consists of the creation scene itself, a mysterious, probably alchemical process, ingeniously done by filming a simple puppet of the monster burning to ashes, and then projecting the foorage in reverse so that all of this matter seems to be magically forming in this cauldron of fire.
This is definitely worth a look for its historic significance, and for its origal approach to the material.