3.3/10
978
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... 

Short | Action | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A group of bandits stage a brazen train hold-up, only to find a determined posse hot on their heels.

Director: Edwin S. Porter
Stars: Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson, A.C. Abadie, George Barnes
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
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The idea is simple: A married woman and a single man meet. They love, they argue, fists fly. A dog strays between town and country. The seasons pass. The man and woman meet again. The dog ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Héloïse Godet, Kamel Abdeli, Richard Chevallier
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Douglas Fairbanks, Mae Marsh
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A man, accompanied by a dog, struggles through snow on a mountain side. We see film stock blister; drawn square shapes appear. Then, we see an infant's face. The images of struggling ... See full summary »

Director: Stan Brakhage
Stars: Stan Brakhage
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Sexual intimacy. Three kinds of images race past, superimposed on each other sometimes: two bodies, a man and a woman's, close up, nude - patches of skin, wisps of hair, glimpses of a face ... See full summary »

Director: Stan Brakhage
Stars: Jane Brakhage, Stan Brakhage
Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A man is supine on a mountain side. Images rush past of nature and a stained glass saint. An infant is born. We see a lactating nipple. Images include a mountain peak, farm buildings, a ... See full summary »

Director: Stan Brakhage
Stars: Jane Brakhage, Stan Brakhage
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A creation myth realized in light, patterns, images superimposed, rapid cutting, and silence. A black screen, then streaks of light, then an explosion of color and squiggles and ... See full summary »

Director: Stan Brakhage
Stars: Jane Brakhage, Stan Brakhage
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

From a murky landscape, a wooded mountain emerges. We watch the sun. We see a bearded man climbing up the mountain through the snow. He carries an ax, and he's accompanied by a dog. His ... See full summary »

Director: Stan Brakhage
Stars: Jane Brakhage, Stan Brakhage
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In the 16th century, the ruthless and insane Don Lope de Aguirre leads a Spanish expedition in search of El Dorado.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Klaus Kinski, Ruy Guerra, Helena Rojo
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
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 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
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

Featured in Mr. Mike's Mondo Video (1979) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

proof that humans suck
11 August 2000 | by (Columbus, Ohio) – See all my reviews

in response to the response posted earlier, i think a film like this is good evidence towards the theory that humans can be kinda dumb. yeah, the elephant killed some people, but that seems more a reaction to its situation of being captured and paraded around for slack-jawed coney-islanders. in a way, this film was the first edition of "when animals attack!" as it similarly shows the results of animals rebelling against their human captors. of course, this edison film just shows the electrocution, but the meaning is the same.

the film can be seen in its entirety in Mr. Death, as the previous guy posted, and also in a PBS documentary about the rise and fall of Coney Island.


19 of 23 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