I’ve been following this story all my life. When I was a kid, this film was still one of the “Lost” films. There was one image of Charles Ogle as the monster, and a description of the plot in a magazine, The Edison Kinescope. Later some stills from the film showed up, but nothing further until it turned out that a collector had a single copy of the film, badly put together out of order, and on flammable nitrate stock. And he wouldn’t let anyone conserve it. Later still he apparently relented (or he died, and his heirs did). For a time the film was for sale on DVD. After that it got posted on YouTube, as here:
Comparing the older version with the Library of Congress release, you can see that they did a helluva job of cleaning it up and somehow tightening the focus. You’d think they could use adjacent frames and computer processing to clean it up still further, eliminating the irregularities, the accidental sprocket-hole appearances, and the like (IN particular, you’d think that they could REALLY clean up the image of the letter, which persists for an awful lot of frames without moving. Just averaging the output of all those frames, you’d think, would give you an almost perfect image). But I can’t complain too much. It’s an impressive accomplishment.
As for the “liberal” adaptation, that was par for the course in the early days of cinema, where they were trying to shoehorn an entire book into about 15 minutes worth of film. You were lucky to get a few identifiable scenes in there. Have a look, sometime, at the earliest silent versions of Ben Hur or She or Dr. Jackyll and Mister Hyde – I mean the ones from BEFORE 1920.