2.9/10
1,498
32 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 »

Director:

Edwin S. Porter
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Cast

Credited cast:
Carl Goliath Carl Goliath ... Self (elephant handler)
Topsy Topsy ... Self
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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

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Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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 »

User Reviews

Cruel? Yes, but see this movie as part of that period of history
29 January 2014 | by mvanhooreSee all my reviews

First of all: It wasn't Edison who sentenced this poor elephant to death It wasn't Edison who abused the elephant It wasn't Edison who made the public bloodthirsty

Edison's involvement with the execution of the elephant is by providing the equipment and then filming the event. So making use of two of his "inventions". That he also makes a profit off the fate of the elephant has to be blamed to the nature of humankind that is still eager to see extreme violence. I only have to mention the success of the Faces of Death movies and you see that nothing has changed in 100 years.

What about the movie which in fact is a documentary or rather a newsflash. The filming is accurate en there is some historic significance. So it is important that this movie still exist and shows us a world where cruelty on animals (and human beings) was still a public affair.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

None

Release Date:

12 January 1903 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Electrocution of an Elephant See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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