6.7/10
699
9 user 4 critic

The '?' Motorist (1906)

A British trick film in which a motorist ends up driving around the rings of Saturn.

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Storyline

A magical glowing white motorcar dismembers policemen, drives up buildings, flies through outer space and can transform into a horse and carriage. This was a British effort to top Melies at his Sci-Fi/fantasy/comedy trick films. Written by Scott Hutchins <scottandrewh@home.com>

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Release Date:

October 1906 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A sofőr  »

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1.33 : 1
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Goofs

In the film's final shot, a woman observing the crew is visible. See more »

Connections

Featured in Silent Britain (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Roundly impressive and entertaining British silent film
26 February 2008 | by See all my reviews

I watched this film on a DVD that was rammed with short films from the period. I didn't watch all of them as the main problem with these type of things that their value is more in their historical novelty value rather than entertainment. So to watch them you do need to be put in the correct context so that you can keep this in mind and not watch it with modern eyes. With the Primitives & Pioneers DVD collection though you get nothing to help you out, literally the films are played one after the other (the main menu option is "play all") for several hours. With this it is hard to understand their relevance and as an educational tool it falls down as it leaves the viewer to fend for themselves, which I'm sure is fine for some viewers but certainly not the majority. What it means is that the DVD saves you searching the web for the films individually by putting them all in one place – but that's about it.

Anyway, I watched this films having just finished moaning about Paul's weak melodrama Buy Your Own Cherries and found myself facing another film from his company if not him himself. However the difference was wonderful and I found the imagination and pioneering work evident here that I see in Paul's best films. Good on so many levels this film is impressive when you put it in the context of when it was made and how much of a novelty things were then. Not only was film a novelty but so were cars and here we have a film that is impressive as a film and, as a film – if you see the difference.

"As a film", this impressed me because it was inventive and funny and seemed made to entertain me and not just show me what the media can do. The second "as a film" relates to how it is made because, although very dated of course, the effects are all good not only in their use but also in the range of techniques used. Heck, I was even quite taken by how smooth the edit between scenes was. Overall then, although directed by Walter Booth, this film stands as a great example of the early work done in British cinema by Robert Paul and his company.


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