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The Delights of Automobiling (1900)

Explosion of a Motor Car (original title)
This is altogether a remarkable picture and of very fine photographic value. It shows a picturesque country road, down which comes a two-seated automobile carrying four people. As the ... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Cecil M. Hepworth ...
Henry Lawley ...
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Storyline

This is altogether a remarkable picture and of very fine photographic value. It shows a picturesque country road, down which comes a two-seated automobile carrying four people. As the machine approaches a position directly in front and near the camera it explodes in a tremendous cloud of smoke. A policeman standing near by rushes to the scene of the disaster and in great amazement looks to the sky where the people have been blown. As he looks the shattered remains fall to earth; first an arm, then a leg, etc., until the road is covered with fragments. The policeman gathers them all together and puts down memoranda in his note book and then goes and reports the disaster. The scene is so well done that it is startling in the extreme and at the same time very humorous. Written by Selig Catalog

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Short | Comedy

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July 1902 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Explosion of an Automobile  »

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User Reviews

Surprisingly darkly comic
21 April 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As the title suggest, this short is based around a car blowing up. Those expecting modern effects will be amused to see how this explosion is achieved (with a simple cut where the car is replaced with a pile of metal and wheels) however it is not the effects that are memorable. Rather what is memorable is the dark edge to this early film. The thing to remember is that the motor car was hardly a well established and taken-of-granted device that it is today but that it would have still had an element of mistrust in the way some older people still view computers today.

So to have this explode killing the passengers is one thing but the film goes beyond that with the macabre spectacle of the policeman picking his way through falling body parts, trying to inventory and perhaps put them back in the correct pile. It is not really funny although it is slightly comic but for me it was more fascinating to see such a thing in a film this old. Not brilliant of course but an interesting bit of cinema history.


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