The First Film Adaptation of Frankenstein Has Been Restored and You Can Watch it Online

For most of us, the first representation of “Frankenstein” on film is the 1931 classic starring Boris Karloff as the infamous monster. But two decades earlier, the Edison Manufacturing Company released their interpretation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel and just this month the Library of Congress released a restored version of the film.

Though the film, which was originally released in 1910 is by no means rare, the Library of Congress has put a lot of effort into digitally restoring and preserving the sole surviving nitrate print of the film, which they acquired in 2014 from the collection of late movie collector Alois F. “Al” Dettlaff.

Once deemed one of the “top 10 most wanted lost films” by the American Film Institute, the Library of Congress was able to capture a 2K scan of the film, digitally restore it and add in elements that had previously been lost, such as the film’s head credits and the first intertitle. A copy of the head credits were acquired from the Edison Historic Site in East Orange, New Jersey and the Library was able to recreated the intertitle using the style of the other titles in the film. To finalize the restoration, the Library hired Donald Sosin, a highly regarded silent film composer and accompanist, to provide a score.

The newly restored version of the 1910 “Frankenstein” will be available on the Library’s YouTube channel and in the National Screening Room. And, like most films in the screening room, it’s freely downloadable in both ProRes LT and MPEG-4 formats, complete with the Sosin score.

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