The Mechanical Man

L’uomo meccanico

The Mechanical Man

André Deed, Valentina Frascaroli (Artist)

Silent film
Focus: Rage & Horror

»The incredible invention of the engineer Dell’Ara is a machine in human form, made of pure steel and exceptionally robust. Its electrical mechanism works by transmitting Hertz waves. From his lab, the inventor can control his monster remotely using various adjustment levers, equipping it with fearsome power and unpredictable speed and, if necessary, making it impossible to be caught up thanks to its electronic fittings. In a nutshell: an infernal invention,« says André Deed in a note on the screenplay for The Mechanical Man.
Gang leader Mado cunningly escapes from prison and takes possession of this giant robot. She uses her full physical strength to direct it from her own control unit. Her motives remain unknown to us; it seems as if she is driven by pure rage and malice when she steers the mechanical human to a big masked ball and causes maximum mayhem there. A spectacular car chase finally culminates in a showdown with her adversary.

All that remains of The Mechanical Man is the last film reel (just over a third of the film): the riotous ending with the freed woman in the laboratory. In 1921, director Deed returned to Milan from France to shoot The Mechanical Man as the sequel to the film Il documento humano. As in the first film, his wife Valentina Frascaroli plays the leading role.

Director / Script

André Deed


Alberto Chentrens


André Deed, Valentina Frascaroli, Mathilde Lambert, Gabriel Moreau, Ferdinando Vivas-May


Società Anonima Milano Films


Cineteca di Bologna

Valentina Frascaroli (Artist)

Valentina Frascaroli – aka Valeria Frasca (1890 -1957) – was one of the first Italian film stars. She studied dance and recitation, is said to have spoken six languages, could be seen in over 100 silent movies between 1910 and 1925 and continued to act character parts in the theatre until the end of her life. In 1909, she appeared in the Cretinetti-comedy series at Itala Films in Turin and subsequently in Gribouilette, also a comedy series and produced in France. At her side, playing her partner, was husband-to-be André Deed who wrote the screenplay to the Gribouilette series and directed. Although concentrating on the stage from 1925 onwards, she also appeared in three of Federico Fellini’s films in the 1950s.

Films with Valentina Frascaroli (Selection)
Il fabbro del convento 1922 | Il feminista 1920 | Contrasto d’anime 1918 | La gloria 1916 | Mariella 1915 | Les émotions de Gribouilette 1914 | Boireau pendu par amour 1913 | La fête de Boireau 1912 | La fiesta de Cretinetti 1911 | Cretinetti fra il celebato e il matrimonio 1909