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Life Without Soul
Directed by Joseph W. Smiley
Produced by John I. Dudley
Written by Jesse J. Goldburg
Starring Percy Standing
George De Carlton
Distributed by Ocean Pictures
Release date(s) November 1915
Running time 70 minutes
Country USA
Language Silent film
English intertitles

Life Without Soul (1915) is a horror film, directed by Joseph W. Smiley and written by Jesse J. Goldburg. This film is an adaptation of Mary Shelley's Gothic novel Frankenstein. The film is about a doctor who creates a soulless man. In the end, it turns out that a young man has dreamed the events of the film after falling asleep reading Mary Shelley's novel.

This version is considered a lost film and the second film version of Frankenstein.[1] The first version was the Edison Company's 10-minute short film Frankenstein (1910).

Contents

Cast

  • Percy Standing as The Creation
  • George De Carlton as Frankenstein's Father
  • Lucy Cotton as Elizabeth Lavenza
  • Pauline Curley as Claudia Frawley
  • Jack Hopkins as Henry Claridge
  • David McCauley a Victor Frawley, as a child
  • Violet De Biccari as Elizabeth, as a child
  • William A. Cohill as Dr. William Frawley

Plot

The movie takes place in 1915 Manhattan. Victor Frawley (William A. Cohill) is a respectable physician. In all his spare time, he conducts experiments which help him discover "the chemistry of life". His sister, Claudia (Pauline Curley), and his best friend, Henry Claridge (Jack Hopkins) and his fiancée, Elizabeth Lawrence (Lucy Cotton), all urge him to stop. He refuses, and alone in his lab (large and uncluttered with no odd lab equipment) he falls asleep reading "Frankenstein".

The setting then shifts to Europe, but still is present day. Victor dreams he is Victor Frankenstein, his fiancée is Elizabeth Lavenza, his best friend becomes Henry Clerval, his sister becomes Justine Moritz, and so forth. Victor creates a clay effigy of a man (Percy Standing) and somehow brings it, a soulless man, to life. This lab scene is the only time when it is naked, but its nipples and navel are covered in fishskin and make-up. This may have been to show his origin, or a clever trick to avoid shocking the early viewers.

The synthetic man has his priorities in order, and insists Victor make a synthetic woman. Victor agrees, but, before he brings her to life, he realizes the danger, and destroys her. The Creation (as it is known in the title cards) immediately kills Claudia and Henry.

He told Elizabeth (well Henry was still alive) that he had one secret, most likely the Creation, that he will reveal on their wedding night. On their wedding night she is dead, killed by the Creation.

Victor then pursues his creation across the Atlantic. Aboard a ship (which is laughably small for an Atlantic crossing), the Creation battles an entire crew of sailors, strangling two at a time, then chucking them overboard. Eventually, Victor chased the Creation to the Grand Canyon (it's impressive, but it is not the Grand Canyon) and, using himself as bait, he lures the Creation into a cavern filled with dynamite, escapes and blows it up. The monster is immortal and indestructible, so it will wander under a mountain of rubble forever. Victor then dies of exhaustion.

Victor Frawley wakes up, happy for his life, destroys his experiments, and tells Elizabeth he will never again "tamper with nature."

References

See also

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