Tuesday, January 12, 2010

From the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

New book on Edison's Frankenstein

A good deal of conjecture surrounds the once lost 1910 Thomas Edison film version of Frankenstein.

The film can rightly be thought of as the first horror movie, though such an appellation was never applied to the approximately 13 minute work when it was initially shown. Then, it was simply a dramatic motion picture.

A new book by Frederick C. Wiebel, Jr., Edison's Frankenstein, has just been published by BearManor Media. This edition, according to the author, corrects all the ‘facts’ and false statements made about the film and reveals for the first time the true story about the finding of the movie and its preparation for release on DVD.

This "100th Anniversary Edition" of Wiebel's book is the result of almost 20 years of research on the 1910 film and contains more information and photos than any of the author's previously self-published editions. This new trade paperback weighs in at 286 pages. According to the author, "The complete tortuous history of the 1910 film version of Frankenstein is narrated in this 100th Anniversary edition. Everything you ever wanted to know about the classic first Frankenstein film and then some."

This thoroughly researched work begins in the archives of Thomas A. Edison and follows a trail of evidence that leads through the pages of pre-Hollywood film history. The story tells of the making of the film starring Charles Ogle, Augustus Phillips, and Mary Fuller, its disappearance, re-discovery, and eventual release on DVD. Supplemented with obscure Edison Manufacturing Co. documents and numerous rare photographs, many published for the very first time, this motion picture and its impact on later Frankenstein films is revealed.

Frederick C. Wiebel, Jr., Edison's Frankenstein is available directly from the author, from BearManor, or through amazon.com. We recommend purchasing directly from the author. A two-disc version featuring a CD-Rom of the book and DVD of the restored film is also available through TCM. We expect copies of the printed book will be available at the book table on the Castro mezzanine at this summer's San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

One-time San Francisco resident Forrest Ackerman, the late, longtime publisher of Famous Monsters of Filmland, said of an earlier edition of this book, "Of the over 400 books on Frankenstein that I have in my library, this is the gem of my collection and the one I've been waiting for." That's recommendation enough.

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