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Monday, July 25, 2011

Frankenstein: 1910

    Note:  I want to talk about something regarding a change in plans.  If you didn't already know, this is my tenth review and as such I want to alter the way I post my reviews.  My plans are to, after every ten reviews, to switch from reviewing horror movies, to reviewing science fiction films, and so on.  I'm going to experiment with this for awhile, and see how everything works out.  Thank you for your patients.

   It's my tenth review, and this time we're going all the way back to 1910!  Enter:  Frankenstein, the first of its kind, based right off of its predating novel by author Mary Shelly.  It was filmed in three days at Edison Studios, and written and directed by J. Searle Dawley.  You can actually find a 2010 public release of the film with remastered footage.  (It was once claimed to be a lost film.  And now, I present to you, my review of the original theatrical release of, "Frankenstein".

   "Frankenstein leaves for collage".  These are the first words you see.  Immediately I'm hysterical because usually I mistake the monsters name to be Frankenstein, and not the doctor who built him.  But obviously they are referring to the monsters maker, because he hasn't yet obtained his doctors degree.    In some cases I'm against this kind of thing, but the remastered music is very helpful with identifying the tone of the film.  

   We see that Frankenstein has written a letter from collage to his sweetheart.  Here is what the letter said, "Sweetheart, Tonight my ambition will be accomplished.  I have discovered the secret of life and death and in a few hours I shall create into life the most perfect human being that the world has ever known." (Boy, is he in for a surprise)  "When this marvelous work is accomplished, I shall then return to claim you for my bride.  Your devoted, Frankenstein."  

   The music seems surprisingly cheerful, but this is good because, when the suspenseful music comes around, it will seem more suspenseful by comparison.  So, we get our next title card (that's been remastered as well as the music) that reads, "Instead of a perfect human being, the evil in Frankenstein's mind creates a monster.  There is a surreal quality towards silent movies that I truly admire, and I look forward to reviewing films like this whenever I can.  Frankenstein, mixes allot of explosion-prone materials into a cauldron.  It's fascinating how you see the monster take form.  You really have to see it to understand how cool it is.  

   Our next title card says, "Frankenstein appalled at the sight of his evil creation". So, it turns out he didn't mean for his creation to be evil.  I wonder if this is teaching that playing god is risky business.  I’ve also noticed that you don't have any dialog cards, it just explains what’s happening every once in a while.  So, we get a glimpse at the monster, and to be honest, he looks different.  Granted he's the first design of the monster, but I wonder why they took every stock image from the universal version.  It must have been allot more popular than this one.  

   Anyway, after his encounter with the monster, Frankenstein returns home, and supposedly tells his family of what he saw.  And then, the monster shows up in his home!  I'm not going to say anything about that, it's too preposterous...... but not impossible.  It leaves just in time for someone else to show up (it's almost comedic, like the monster is trying to drive him insane).  But he sees his reflection and, you reason with him.  He sees how frightening he looks and in that sense, a small shaft of humanity shines through.  

   The next scene shows Frankenstein getting married.  The monster shows up and, after some confrontation, disappears because,"He was foiled by the power of love!”  There is a scene where Frankenstein walks in front of a mirror and sees that his refection replaced with the monster, and there is a definite meaning to that.  It's like his personality is the main ingredient to his monsters creation, and that even love can shine in the most hallowed of places.  Wow, this film is deep.  And it's also over at this point.           

In Conclusion:  I never thought that such spectacularity, and yes that is a my dictionary, could be packed into just 12 minutes and 42 seconds!  So, for a film and a review, it was pretty short, and I apologies for that, but that's how long most films were in 1910.  Now I can believe it was made in three days.  But I enjoyed this very much, and with all silent films they never cease to amaze me.  I believe that silent films are an acquired taste, and to those who enjoy that taste, I respect you.  If you haven't tried a silent film yet, let this film be your first (or if not this one, then, "Nosferatu", because that one is classic).  Follow this blog to get in on more silent goodness and more!  Also if you would like to watch, "Frankenstein": 1910 go to the bottom of this review.  Don't forget to let me know of your reactions of this review.           

I give this film 4 PhD's out of 5

Thank you,

   Albert Dubin


        Next Review:  Santa Clause Conquers The Martians 1964 


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