Friday, October 28, 2011

Battle in the Clouds -1909

Country: United Kingdom
Director: Walter R. Booth
Writer: Walter R. Booth (screenplay)
Release Date: 29 December 1909 (USA)
Genres: Short | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
Also Known as: Der Luftkrieg der Zukunft Germany; The Aerial Torpedo UK (reissue title); The Battle in the Clouds USA; The Battle of the Clouds UK (alternative title)
Production Co: Urban Trading Company
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
An inventor uses a wireless controlled flying torpedo to destroy enemy airships. This is a cracking little film from the pioneering days of cinema (just over a decade after the Lumiéres). It's not exactly science fiction, more a vision of what-might-be given the technology of the day. So we have fleets of airships bombing civilian targets, and an armoured car/tank firing ground-to-air missiles in an effort to destroy them.
Our hero has developed what we would now call a drone: a pilot-less aircraft capable of locking on to a target. He has proposed to the love of his life but her father turns him away. The girl's home is destroyed in the air-raid. Our hero rescues her and her father from the wreckage then returns to destroy the raiders with his new technology. He gets the girl, of course, but I'm not sure whether father was dead and out of the way or just willing to have a brilliant inventor for a son-in-law.
Of course the special effects are primitive but the shot of a burning church is still a distant ancestor of the destruction of the Empire State Building by Roland Emmerich. You can see the film at Have a look. It's worth a few minutes of your time.
Continuity: The burning fuse of one of the explosions near the armored car can be seen on the ground, before we see the streak that is supposed to be the aerial bomb hitting the ground.

No comments:

Post a Comment