Thanks to the fine people at WordPress, all sorts of statistical stuff comes with this blog’s content management system, and so I am pleased to report that The Bioscope has just passed the 10,000-visitor mark since it began in February of this year. 211 is the record number of visits for any one day (all those people looking for information on Albert Kahn), with somewhere between 80 and 100 as the daily average. There have been 201 posts (most from me – a handful from my co-contributors), 113 comments (could do better) and Akismet has cleared up 1,194 unwanted spam comments.
Thanks for reading The Bioscope, whose archives ought to build up into a useful reference source in time (that’s the plan). If there is information or features on silent film that you’d like to see here (particularly if it’s the sort of thing that can’t be found elsewhere on the Web), let me know.
Thanks for all the great work here! I check in at least once a day to see what’s new, and I’ve benefited greatly from all your efforts. Please do keep up the good work.
Since you’re soliciting requests for features, I’d like to put in mine for something on silent (and perhaps pre-cinematic) productions of Frankenstein. I’m currently writing my doctoral dissertation on Frankenstein films, and I’ve done a lot of research on Edison’s 1910 version, for example, which, by the way, is all over the Web: Google Video, YouTube, etc. But there’s very little out there on the 1915 Life Without Soul or the 1921 Il Mostro di Frankenstein. There’s very good reason for that: both films are lost. But there must be records somewhere regarding production, exhibition, advertising, critical reception, etc., and if you have access to any of the services like ProQuest–which I don’t–or have any other relevant resources available, I’d love to hear something about these.
I’m also especially interested, as I mentioned above, in non-filmic adaptations (apart from theater productions, which have been well documented). I have heard rumors of magic lantern shows based on Frankenstein, or other types of visual media adaptations, but I have not been able to confirm any of these. Though not strictly within the scope of your blog, these non-filmic spectacles (if any) would at least be relevant as part of the early film variety format. What do you think?
Excellent work, I’ll be sure to come back time and time again ;)
Thank you both for the kind words. It’s good to know that there are people out there reading the stuff and not just stumbling across it by accident and recoiling in horror.
I did think when first setting up The Bioscope of having a ‘questions’ section, for just such a query as your Frankenstein research. I think I’ll set one up now, replacing the Publications section which was put up in a rush and doesn’t do much to justify itself. Not sure how it will work i.e. if WordPress can let me to create a form of some kind (unlikely) or whether I just ask people to send me their queries for posting. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to make your Frankenstein query the first in this new section. Meanwhile, I’ll see what I can do to answer it, though for starters have you see the AFI Catalog entry for LIFE WITHOUT SOUL? There’s a link to the Catalog from the Databases links on The Bioscope. Type in the film title in the search box, then click on Display Movie Detail at the bottom right of the page, and you’ll find a list of reviews in the American press as well as some background information on its production.
Re the rather wonderful 1910 FRANKENSTEIN, it might be worth trawling through the archives of alt.movies.silent (see under Discussion Lists) and type in Frankenstein. That highly active group argued over the film and its stubborn owner, Al Detlaff, for years, before it was finally released once more in 2003 – to general delight that it was such a good film.
I know nothing of the 1921 Italian film – the catalogues of Italian silent cinema by Aldo Bernardini might be a starting point for finding credits and references. Helps to know Italian, though.
Re the magic lantern, I’ll have to ask around, though of course plenty of ‘pre-cinema’ media were interested in the dead and the undead. The Early Visual Media site – http://www.visual-media.be/ – might be a place to start.
Yes, please feel free to use my question about silent and pre-cinematic Frankensteins for the new section. The more people who see it, the better the chances that someone will know something. And thanks for the research tips. I had looked at the AFI catalog listing for LIFE WITHOUT SOUL before, but I still have no access to the periodicals listed. Unfortunately, my university (in Hannover, Germany) does not subscribe to any of the online services that would allow me to view them or have them on microfilm either. As time runs out for me to get the dissertation finished, I’m going to have to find a source, though.
I know something of the controversy surrounding Al Detlaff, who died last year (or the year before). And I’ve looked through the alt.movies.silent group for info on Edison’s FRANKENSTEIN, but I’ll certainly have to revisit it. Thanks for reminding me!
And thanks for the tip on the Bernardini catalogues. Too bad I don’t know Italian!
Finally, I would greatly appreciate it if you could ask around about magic lantern or other pre-cinema Frankensteins. I posted a query to the Early Visual Media site once, but it failed to turn up anything. Any help from you or anyone else is greatly appreciated!
My spies are on the lookout for Frankenstein magic lantern slides. Intelligence passed on so far states that there are no known slides of the Frankenstein story (presumably that means ever, not just extant). As for access to online journals, that is tough if your university won’t subscribe to the relevant sources. One tip – try the Godfrey Memorial Library – http://godfrey.org/. For a very cheap annual subscription ($35 per year) you gain access to a whole range of American digitised newspapers, plus the London Times. It’s used a lot by family historians, but a handful of film historians (myself included) have discovered its riches too.
I’ll be setting up a queries page later this evening.
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