The Mechanical Man

L’uomo meccanico

The Mechanical Man

Valentina Frascaroli (Artist)

Finally Back on the Silver Screen

»Engineer Dell’Ara’s amazing invention consists of a machine in human form built out of pure steel and extremely resistant. The electric mechanism is operated by the influence of Hertzian waves. From his laboratory, via a series of handles, the inventor can communicate to his monster, both near and far, a terrifying strength, an incalculable speed and – if necessary – render him uncatchable due to the electrical charges that can emanate from his body. In short, a truly infernal invention.«
– André Deed. Notes on the character of the »Artificial Man« – when that was still the working title – in the first draft of the screenplay now archived at the Museo Nazionale del Cinema di Torino.

An unknown woman (Valentina Frascaroli) gets control of this robot which can run faster than a car drive. From the control panel, she directs the machine to a large fancy-dress ball where the initial enthusiasm of the guests soon turns to horror …. Only the final roll of L’uomo meccanico has survived, amounting to about a third of overall footage. But we get to see the furious ending with the deranged woman in the laboratory remote-controlling the robot.
In 1921, director André Deed returned to Milan from France to shoot L’uomo meccanico as the sequel to Il documento humano. As with the first part of the film, Deed triple-dutied as author, scriptwriter and director as well as acting at the side of his wife: Valentina Frascaroli.

Director / Script

André Deed


Alberto Chentrens


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


Milano Film, restored by the Cineteca di Bologna


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