EDISON’S “FRANKENSTEIN” SPOTTED IN NEW JERSEY

On April 26, 2003, the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre makes film viewing history with the official public re-premiere of Edison’s historic Frankenstein, presumed lost to audiences for all time.
This landmark 1910 film, considered to be the first horror movie, is also the first incarnation of the Frankenstein Monster on film. The 14-minute reel was all but forgotten until 1963 when a film historian discovered a photo of Edison’s Monster in the Edison archives in West Orange, New Jersey. The photo was reproduced in numerous publications and generated enormous interest. But no print of the movie could be found. By 1980, The American Film Institute had declared Edison’s “Frankenstein” to be one of the top ten most “culturally and historically significant lost films”.
But unbeknownst to the AFI and most historians, one print of this historic film had survived in the private collection of Mr. Alois Dettlaff of Wisconsin. The “Frankenstein” print was one of a number of reels belonging to his wife’s grandmother who collected the prints during her years as a film distributor. Mr. Dettlaff acquired the prints after her death.
When Mr. Dettlaff learned of the AFI list, he let it be known that Edison’s “Frankenstein” had indeed been preserved. But because of copyright concerns, Dettlaff has turned down requests to screen the movie from museums and film distributors the world over, and has only allowed it to be screened theatrically at two small gatherings in his hometown.
But now that Mr. Dettlaff has decided to release the film on DVD, he has agreed to allow the official public re-premiere of this landmark film at the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre. The film will be screened on two days as part of programs that include other, more familiar film versions of Frankenstein’s Monster.
Friends of the Loew’s and the Fort Lee Film Commission are co-sponsors of this historic event.
Saturday, April 26 at 8:00pm
Edison’s “Frankenstein” will be screened at the beginning and end of the evening’s presentation.
“Frankenstein” (1931) 71 min. Still regarded as the definitive film version of Mary Shelley’s classic tale of tragedy and horror, “Frankenstein” made character actor Boris Karloff a star, created a new icon of terror that became part of our cultural lexicon, and helped launch Universal Studio’s golden age of horror movies. Presented in a new print that restores scenes that were censored for a late 1930’s re-release.
“Young Frankenstein” (1974) 108 min. Lending his burlesque touch to this 1970s genre revision, Mel Brooks followed his hit “western” “Blazing Saddles” with this parody of 1930 Universal horror movies. With the help of voluptuous Inga (Teri Garr), wall-eyed assistant Igor (Marty Feldman), and a purloined brain, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (co-screenwriter Gene Wilder) creates his monster (peter Boyle). It is at once parody and homage to the conventions of horror movies. Shot in gleaming black-and-white, “Young Frankenstein” became one of the most popular releases of 1974. Presented in a new print.
“Third Dimensional Murder” (1941) 12 min. A rare screening of this MGM black-and-white short that is a very early example of the Anaglyph (red & blue glasses) version of 3-D. The plot has an unseen narrator going to a haunted house to investigate a murder and encountering the Frankenstein Monster. Most of the film is devoted to 3D gimmicking–objects being thrust and thrown towards the camera (and therefore, the audience), to highlight the 3-D effect. A fun showcase of early 3-D. 3-D glasses will be provided.
And also . . . Frankenstein Trailers from the 1930s and 40s 15 min. Including the Universal classic “Bride of Frankenstein,” “Son of Frankenstein,” “Ghost of Frankenstein” and “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.” These archival coming attraction trailers are courtesy of SabuCat Productions.
Sunday, April 27 at 2:00pm
Edison’s “Frankenstein” will be screened at the beginning and end of the afternoon’s presentation.
“The Revenge of Frankenstein” (1958) 91 min. He may be calling himself “Dr. Stein,” but the audience isn’t fooled; that popular general practitioner (Peter Cushing) is none other than our old friend, Victor Frankenstein. Things really begin heating up when Stein uses the brain of vengeful village hunchback Karl, (Oscar Quitak) for his new synthetic monster. Full of clever (if gory) touches, “Revenge of Frankenstein” is among the best of the Hammer Studio’s films. Screened in a Dye Transfer Technicolor Archival Print.
“Young Frankenstein” (1974) 108 min. — an encore screening.
Plus . . . “Third Dimensional Murder” (1941) 12 min. — an encore screening.
And also . . . Frankenstein Trailers from the 1950s thru the ’90s 15 min. Including “Curse of Frankenstein,” “I Was a Teenage Frankenstein,” “Frankenstein 1970,” “The Evil of Frankenstein,” “Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed,” “Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein,” and “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” These archival coming attraction trailers are courtesy of SabuCat Productions.
Admission for each day’s program is $7 for adults, $4 for seniors and children under 12. The box office opens a half hour before each screening. The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre is located at 54 Journal Square, Jersey City, N.J., directly across Kennedy Boulevard from the PATH Transportation Center and minutes from the New Jersey Turnpike and the Holland Tunnel. Ample off-street parking is available directly behind the Theatre.
For more information, visit the Loews Jersey Theatre website.




Posted on April 8, 2003 in News by
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