3.2/10
1,031
31 user 2 critic

Electrocuting an Elephant (1903)

The execution of Topsy, a female elephant, in a publicity stunt advertising the opening of Luna Park on Coney Island. Topsy was originally owned by Forepaugh Circus where she killed a ... See full summary »

Star:

Reviews

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A gardener is watering his flowers, when a mischievous boy sneaks up behind his back, and puts a foot on the water hose. The gardener is surprised, and looks into the nozzle to find out why... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière
Stars: François Clerc, Benoît Duval
Short | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The fiend faces the spectacular mind-bending consequences of his free-wheeling rarebit binge.

Directors: Wallace McCutcheon, Edwin S. Porter
Stars: Jack Brawn
Short | Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

"A glove contest between trained cats. A very comical and amusing subject, and is sure to create a great laugh." (by Edison Films)

Directors: William K.L. Dickson, William Heise
Stars: Henry Welton
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A man, objecting to being filmed, comes closer and closer to the camera lens until his mouth is all we see. Then he opens wide and swallows camera and cinematographer. He steps back, chews, and grins.

Director: James Williamson
Stars: Sam Dalton
Baby's Dinner (1895)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A baby is seated at a table between its cheerful parents, Auguste and Marguerite Lumière. While the father is feeding the baby with a spoon, the mother is pouring coffee into her cup. The ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière
Stars: Auguste Lumière, Mrs. Auguste Lumiere, Andrée Lumière
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A group of Sioux Indians from Buffalo Bill's Wild West exhibition demonstrates a dance called a "ghost dance".

Directors: William K.L. Dickson, William Heise
Short | History | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

This short film, one of the first to use camera tricks, depicts the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Director: Alfred Clark
Stars: Mrs. Robert L. Thomas
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A hotel porter tries in his spare time to find out the secrets of the guests in looking through the keyholes of the different rooms. He must see very funny things, judging from his facial expressions.

Director: Ferdinand Zecca
Frankenstein (1910)
Short | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Frankenstein, a young medical student, trying to create the perfect human being, instead creates a misshapen monster. Made ill by what he has done, Frankenstein is comforted by his fiancée ... See full summary »

Director: J. Searle Dawley
Stars: Mary Fuller, Charles Ogle, Augustus Phillips
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 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 5.3/10 X  

A French aristocrat, who has recently arrived in America, has placed a personal advertisement in the newspaper. In the ad, he invites any well-to-do young woman who is interested in ... See full summary »

Director: Edwin S. Porter
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Topsy ...
Herself
Edit

Storyline

The execution of Topsy, a female elephant, in a publicity stunt advertising the opening of Luna Park on Coney Island. Topsy was originally owned by Forepaugh Circus where she killed a drunken spectator who burned the tip of her trunk with a cigar. She was sold to Sea Lion Park in 1902 which was then sold to new owners who turned it into Luna Park. After they decided they could no longer handle her, the owners of Luna Park announced they would hang Topsy, leading to an outcry by the ASPCA. The owners then decided they would electrocute the elephant, with a backup plan of feeding her cyanide-laced carrots and strangling her with a cable. Written by Rob O

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Short

Parents Guide:

 »
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

This may have been the first death ever captured on film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in QI: Electricity (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Hmmmmm. Interesting.
19 October 2003 | by (Captain Nemo's Submarine) – See all my reviews

Boy, talk about a gratuitous documentary. Imagine the pre-production scene that happened!

Edison: "Hey, an elephant killed some people, LET'S ELECTROCUTE IT BEFORE CAMERA!"

"Really, Mr Edison, is it decent?"

"WHO CARES! ELECTRICITY! ZAP! ZAP! ZAP!"

Seriously, this is a very odd piece for PETA to use in their campaign for animal rights. I'm not a very PETA-person, but I'm with them on electrocuting elephants, which Edison surely should have been. This is a very disturbing piece of work, especially when you see that the shock did not kill the poor animal.


14 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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

Contribute to This Page