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The First Auto (1927)

Passed  |   |  Comedy  |  18 September 1927 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 158 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 2 critic

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 »



(screen play), (titles), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Russell Simpson ...
Frank Campeau ...
Mayor Robbins
The Blacksmith
Anders Randolf ...
The Auctioneer
The Village Cut-Up
Paul Kruger ...
Douglas Gerrard ...
Squire Stebbins
Charles Emmett Mack ...
Bob Armstrong (as Chas. E. Mack)
Rose Robbins
The Master Driver


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Remember---when you used to stand for an hour watching a fellow crank his "Merry Oldsmobile"---when you used to help a fellow pump a tire for an hour, and the tire was still flat!---when the batteries were run down and you had to walk ten miles to get six more batteries---when the car wouldn't go and you finally found that the tank was empty--- See more »








Release Date:

18 September 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Primeiro Automóvel  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone) (talking sequences, musical score, sound effects)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ancient Autos Puff A Gabriel of the movies has blown his trumpet over the graveyard of dead and forgotten cars, and as a result 18 of the oldest automobiles

in the United States will come to life on the Warner Brothers' lot in Hollywood. It cost more than $50,000 to collect and restore these ancient

vehicles, which will sputter and snort their two-cylinder way through a feature picture romanticizing the infancy of the automobile. St Petersburg Times, March 10, 1927. syndicated. See more »


Edited into Gadgets Galore (1955) See more »


Les patineurs (The Skaters)
Music by Emil Waldteufel
In the score when Dave Doolittle is juggling
See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable but not a film I'd rush to see.
3 May 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"The First Auto" is a nostalgic film all about the early days of automobiles and its impact on Hank's livery business. Hank (Russell Simpson) is very proud of his champion racehorse and is saddened that his son has little interest in the family business. In fact, young Bob (Charles Emmett Mack) is a nut about autos and sees them as the logical replacement for horses. Not surprisingly, this causes friction between the two and Hank, at first, seems right. The earliest cars were unreliable and a bit dangerous. But, time passes and Hank's business is in ruins. He has a plan to sabotage the auto race coming to town--maybe that will convince everyone that the horse is here to stay. However, what he doesn't know is that Bob's car is the one he sabotaged! What's next? See the film and find out for yourself.

This is an amiable little film and not much more. The animated fire and schmaltzy tone of the film don't help it, but the film is breezy and entertaining. If you are a big fan of silent films, it's well worth seeing. But, if you aren't, this one probably won't change your mind.

By the way, this film features synchronized music and sound effects-- something Warner Brothers was pushing very hard at the time. Additionally, it's ironic that young Mack was actually killed in a car accident near the end of the making of this film! Because of this, I assume that's why so much of the story rests on Simpson and so much of Bob's actions are off-camera and described in the dialog.

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