3.1/10
1,286
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 »
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 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
Short | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

With the help of a magic cauldron, Mephistopheles conjures up a variety of supernatural characters.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Jehanne d'Alcy, Jules-Eugène Legris, Georges Méliès
Short | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

As an elegant maestro of mirage and delusion drapes his beautiful female assistant with a gauzy textile, much to our amazement, the lady vanishes into thin air.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Jehanne d'Alcy, Georges Méliès
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, Fernande Albany, Jehanne d'Alcy
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Annabelle (Whitford) Moore performs one of her popular dance routines. She uses her dance steps and her long, flowing skirts to create a variety of visual patterns.

Directors: William K.L. Dickson, William Heise
Stars: Annabelle Moore
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 | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Porter's sequential continuity editing links several shots to form a narrative of firemen responding to a house fire. They leave the station with their horse drawn pumper, arrive on the ... See full summary »

Directors: George S. Fleming, Edwin S. Porter
Stars: Vivian Vaughan, Arthur White, James H. White
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Three men hammer on an anvil and pass a bottle of beer around.

Director: William K.L. Dickson
Stars: Charles Kayser, John Ott
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 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: Gilbert Domm, Sallie Gardner
Short | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An astronomer falls asleep and has a strange dream involving a fairy queen and the Moon.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Jehanne d'Alcy, Georges Méliès
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Auguste Lumière directs four workers in the demolition of an old wall at the Lumière factory. One worker is pressing the wall inwards with a jackscrew, while another is pushing it with a ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière
Stars: Auguste Lumière
Short | History | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 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
Edit

Cast

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


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

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
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Connections

Featured in Assassin's Creed II (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

proof that humans suck
11 August 2000 | by Mr PantsSee 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.


20 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 32 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed