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The Battle in the Clouds (1909)

The Airship Destroyer (original title)
An inventor uses a wireless controlled flying torpedo to destroy enemy airships.



(screenplay), (story)


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Section 1: Preparation. The Aero camp. Loading supplies. Start of the airships. The inventor of the airship destroyer. His love story. The parting. The alarm. The aero fleet in full flight. The aerial torpedo and its inventor. Section 2: Attack. In the clouds. Dropping live shells from the firing deck of an airship. The chase. High angle firing from a gun on an armored motor car. Total destruction of the car. Railway wrecked by the aerial fleet. Shelling the signal box. The heroic operator meets death at his post. The fight in the air. Airship versus aeroplane. Wreck of the aeroplane. The burning of a town by the aerial fleet. Thrilling rescue of his sweetheart by the inventor. Section 3: Defense. The inventor with the assistance of his sweetheart sends his airship destroyer on its mission of vengeance. The torpedo, steered through the air by wireless telegraphy. One flash and the airship is doomed. It falls, a mass of scorching fire, into the waters of a lake. Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Short | Fantasy | Sci-Fi




Release Date:

29 December 1909 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Battle in the Clouds  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Released in the US as a split reel along with The Park of Caserta (1909). See more »


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. See more »

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User Reviews

Early sci-fi
26 March 2002 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

It is frequently and falsely claimed that Porter created the story picture in THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY. Melies was creating such films already, most notably in A TRIP TO THE MOON. Likewise, D.W. Griffith did not invent cross-cutting, although he did establish its usage as standard and produced what Lillian Gish called "the grammar of film." Here is evidence that he was not working alone.

This short film, based on a Verne novel, imagines the course of a future war, in which dirigibles are used to bomb cities. Although primitive by today's standards, it is clearly an epic picture and well worth the time of anyone with curiosity about the origins of film.

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