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 »
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Roy Del Ruth
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 <email@example.com>
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 »
"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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