3.3/10
1,003
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 | 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
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
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
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
Short | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young wife and her musician husband live in poverty in a New York City tenement. The husband's job requires him to go away for for a number of days. On his return, he is robbed by the ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Elmer Booth, Lillian Gish, Clara T. Bracy
Short | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Using every known means of transportation, several savants from the Geographic Society undertake a journey through the Alps to the Sun which finishes under the sea.

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

A woman disappears on stage.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Jeanne d'Alcy, Georges Méliès
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 7.3/10 X  

The clip shows a jockey, Domm, riding a horse, Sally Gardner. The clip is not filmed but instead consists of 24 individual photographs shot in rapid succession, making a moving picture when using a zoopraxiscope.

Director: Eadweard Muybridge
Stars: Domm
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A shot of people walking on The Leeds Bridge.

Director: Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 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
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
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 Edison: The Invention of the Movies (2005) 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