Imaginative celestial fantasy
8 July 2019
Director Walter Booth's silent short follows a couple in a magical car as the they travel to the moon, hitch a ride on a comet, and take a spin on Saturn's rings before returning to Earth only to run afoul of the law. The film is one of a number of fanciful shorts produced by cinema pioneer Robert Paul. The substitution splices are quite good for the time (especially the switch between the live policeman and the dummy that gets run over). The animation and double exposures are less effective (e.g. the car is translucent and out of scale when it crashes into the courtroom). The images of the car circling Saturn are quaint but memorable. The film was remade and expanded by Booth (then working with producer Charles Urban) as 'The Automatic Motorist' (1911), which follows much the same story except that the car is driven by a robot chauffeur and the trip includes a visit to Saturn's interior and an underwater excursion.
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