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Airship Destroyer, The

Entry updated 11 April 2022. Tagged: Film.

Film (1909; vt The Aerial Torpedo, 1915). Charles Urban Trading Company. Directed and written by Walter R Booth. The attribution of the story to Jules Verne is false. Cast not given. 11 minutes. Black and white.

The Airship Destroyer, which merits notice as one of the first sf films, translates with some efficiency into visual terms the popular Future War Invasion story in which England is threatened from abroad. The film is signboarded into three parts. Preparation: somewhere in the Continent, Airships are readied to attack England, where a young man is convince that his Invention – an aerial torpedo – will save the day. Attack: the airships attack England, dominating the skies, and dropping bombs on London. Defense: the young inventor, after rescuing his sweetheart from her bombed home, destroys an enemy aircraft with his torpedo, which is guided by wireless. The invasion is over.

In 11 minutes, there is no time for much else, but in 1909 the film was successful (see also England Invaded [1909] directed by Leo Stormont). As The Aerial Torpedo, The Airship Destroyer was re-released in 1915, after World War One had begun and German Zeppelins were in reality attacking England. [JC]


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