Hank owns horses, stables horses and races horses. He favorite horse always wins and he is prosperous and will known. His son (Bob), however dreams only of the future of the horseless ... See full summary »
Hank owns horses, stables horses and races horses. He favorite horse always wins and he is prosperous and will known. His son (Bob), however dreams only of the future of the horseless carriage and not of the horse. This causes problems between Hank and Bob. As the people in the town convert from horses to autos, Hank detests those who switch - so he looses his friends, his son Bob and finally his livery business. Bob leaves his flame Rose and goes to Detroit, gets involved with the auto industry and does very well. He does not forget Hank and promises to see him again, but Hank's hatred of the auto may cause the death of Bob. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sound pictures were only a year or two away, but this silent looked, in spots, as if it had been made earlier.
The best silent movies used a minimum of inter-titles, but "The First Auto" was overburdened with them -- oh, granted, not as overburdened as some other movies, but still there were too many.
There are, though, several reasons to watch this movie, and only a few to cause head-scratching and puzzlement.
First, seeing the original Barney Oldfield, as himself, is probably reason enough to watch "The First Auto." Oldfield was a magic name in the early years of both autos and cinema, and was an automotive hero a long time before there was such a thing as NASCAR.
Second, seeing Russell Simpson as the lead is a treat. He was an excellent actor, but was nearly always relegated to a "with" role. Even if in top-line films, he was put into secondary positions, and obviously, just judging from "The First Auto," he was fully qualified to get top billing.
Finally, one has to see it to believe it: The "special effects" when a race car supposedly catches fire ... well, "primitive" doesn't begin to describe it.
Perhaps we need to give an "A" for effort; and to note how far we have come in effects is one very good reason to watch this.
One major player was killed before filming was complete, but the result is no "Plan 9 from Outer Space": "The First Auto" is seamless in how that actor's death is handled.
This really is a movie to watch, for the good cast (also look for the adorable Patsy Ruth Miller), for a good story, and to see how the world of movie-making has changed.
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