In the 1950’s, Alois F. “Al” Dettlaff of Cudahy, Wisconsin acquired a rare print of the 1910 “Frankenstein” film as part of a larger collection, though he wasn’t aware of the film’s significance until the 1980’s when the American Film Institute included it on their list of “top 10 most wanted lost films.” The Library of Congress tried to get their hands on the print for decades, but Dettlaff was reluctant to give it up, choosing instead to sell copies of it at film conventions while dressed up as Father Time (compete with robe, scythe, hourglass and a long white beard).
Detlaff died in 2005, and the Library acquired his entire film collection in 2014. Since then have been digitally restoring the”Frankenstein” print, replacing the missing titles and adding a score by highly regarded silent film composer and accompanist Donald Sosin. There have been copies of the film on YouTube for some time now, but those were all based on the DVD’s that Detlaff sold. The newly restored version of what is known to be the first filmed adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic 1818 novel can be seen below or on the Library of Congress website.