MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 5,082 this week

Electrocuting an Elephant (1903)

3.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 3.4/10 from 818 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 1 critic

This is a film taken of the execution of Topsy, an elephant employed to help build Luna Park on Coney Island. She had killed three men, including a drunken spectator who fed her a cigarette... See full summary »

0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 43 titles
created 09 Mar 2012
 
a list of 149 titles
created 11 Apr 2012
 
a list of 2250 titles
created 12 Oct 2012
 
a list of 54 titles
created 18 Jun 2013
 
a list of 1753 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Electrocuting an Elephant (1903)

Electrocuting an Elephant (1903) on IMDb 3.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Electrocuting an Elephant.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Annabelle (Whitford) Moore performs one of her popular dance routines. She uses her dance steps and her long, flowing skirts to create a variety of visual patterns.

Directors: William K.L. Dickson, William Heise
Stars: Annabelle Moore
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A man opens the big gates to the Lumière factory. Through the gateway and a smaller doorway beside it, workers are streaming out, turning either left or right. Most of them are women in ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière
Short | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The leader of a marching band demonstrates an unusual way of writing music.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Georges Méliès
Short | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Porter's sequential continuity editing links several shots to form a narrative of firemen responding to a house fire. They leave the station with their horse drawn pumper, arrive on the ... See full summary »

Directors: George S. Fleming, Edwin S. Porter
Stars: Vivian Vaughan, Arthur White, James H. White
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

This is another one-shot Lumiere Brothers film, which consists of a single shot of a boat leaving the port, being watched by members of the Lumiere family.

Director: Louis Lumière
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A woman being fitted for shoes exposes her ankle to the shoe clerk, who is intrigued. He kisses her, but her chaperone hits him with her umbrella.

Director: Edwin S. Porter
Stars: Edward Boulden
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Country rube thinks what he sees on the movie screen is real. He jumps out of his seat to try to stop a kissing scene.

Director: Edwin S. Porter
Stars: Charles Manley
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A great feature of the Pan-American Exposition, as unanimously conceded by all visitors, was the electric illumination of the Exposition grounds at night. After a great deal of ... See full summary »

Director: Edwin S. Porter
The Kiss (1896)
Short | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Two people kiss.

Director: William Heise
Stars: May Irwin, John C. Rice
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A most interesting picture at the Pan-American Exposition. The picture was taken from the north side of the Electric Tower. It presents the most perfect and diversified views of the ... See full summary »

Director: Edwin S. Porter
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

This is the lady whose graceful interpretations of the poetry of motion has made this dance so popular of recent years. - From 'The Phonoscope' (1899)

Director: James H. White
Stars: Fatima
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A woman disappears on stage.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Jeanne d'Alcy, Georges Méliès
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Himself
Topsy ...
Herself
Edit

Storyline

This is a film taken of the execution of Topsy, an elephant employed to help build Luna Park on Coney Island. She had killed three men, including a drunken spectator who fed her a cigarette. Cyanide-laced carrots fed to her by park officials failed, and the ASPCA forbade a hanging. Thomas Edison, meanwhile, had been publicly killing dogs and cats with AC power to show that his DC power was more effective and less dangerous. Edison performed the execution of Topsy and captured it on film, though the brief short shows only the event, and not the background behind it. It makes a disturbing sight, particularly embedded in Errol Morris's Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999). Written by Scott Andrew Hutchins <scottandrewh@home.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Short

Edit

Details

Country:

Release Date:

12 January 1903 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Electrocution of an Elephant  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the very few films released by the Edison Manufacturing Company in which Thomas A. Edison played an active role in its production. See more »

Connections

Featured in S&man (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Despicable
16 February 2006 | by (Halifax, Nova Scotia) – See all my reviews

This vicious little film is horrendous. My low rating for it comes for two main reasons. The first is that it is an animal snuff film and I find that whole concept so vile it turns my stomach. Filmed over a hundred years ago, I can only hope that we've evolved into something a little more humane and compassionate. This film is complete and utter exploitation, made to cash in on the sensational aspects of the film and the subject. Historical interest aside, this is something to watch only if one finds themselves in the grip of morbid fascination.

Reason number two? Look at the way that the camera is set up. It is placed in the best possible location to fully capture the full effect: long march forward of the elephant, perfect view of the electrocution platform and a cold and clinically dispassionate viewpoint of the elephant with smoke coming out of it before it finally collapses. Sickening.

Thomas Edison did many great things for civilization and his talents and intelligence aren't in doubt. Nobody is perfect, but when you realize that this film provided A) an opportunity for him to trump early cinematic competitors with a sensationalist film of an elephant being electrocuted and B) he filmed the execution to demonstrate the greater effectiveness of DC as opposed to AC, you can't help but wonder if the scientist in him was a little TOO dispassionate and cold. Any number of Peter Cushing's mad scientists would be proud. The rest of us should be ashamed and revolted.


22 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
BACK OFF. GrEmLiN-X
It wasn't Edison's idea to kill Topsy.... stokepogue2001
I was horrified by this film Localfreak
Discuss Electrocuting an Elephant (1903) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page