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Electrocuting an Elephant (1903)

3.4
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Ratings: 3.4/10 from 806 users  
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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 »

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Title: Electrocuting an Elephant (1903)

Electrocuting an Elephant (1903) on IMDb 3.4/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Himself
Topsy ...
Herself
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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>

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Genres:

Documentary | Short

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Release Date:

12 January 1903 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Electrocution of an Elephant  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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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

Edited into The 20th Century: A Moving Visual History (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

A must-see for sadists and Edison groupies
11 June 2000 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I first heard of this film short in a horror movie textbook--and it was quite an appropriate place for it. This film is not likely to be exhibited to tourists at the Edison museum anytime soon. It documents a side of Edison that suggests that even the greatest of inventors can have sociopathic personality traits on par with a vivisector or serial killer. Another user seemed to be attempting to put the atrocity in context--but if the information was correct, that the elephant was abused by trainers-it only serves to compound the injustice here. This ranks with "Night and Fog" and the Ian Holm narrated "Animals at War" as one of the most shameful documents of human depravity recorded on film.

Dont feel bad if you cant find it at Blockbuster's.


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Recent Posts
BACK OFF. GrEmLiN-X
It wasn't Edison's idea to kill Topsy.... stokepogue2001
I was horrified by this film Localfreak
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