Short film review – The Automatic Motorist (W. R. Booth, 1911)

A bride, a motorcar, a robot chauffeur and a policeman – what could possibly go wrong? Fantasy and ‘trick’ film pioneer W.R. Booth uses cut-out animation and models to create a truly out-of-this-world sci-fi adventure. The mad-cap plot sees a newlywed couple transported from a country lane to outer-space (via St Paul’s Cathedral), where the policeman encounters some pretty feisty Saturnians…

Another curiosity from the BFI archives, The Automatic Motorist is a fun and playful short film that is full of science fiction. It’s completely bonkers and has the disjointed feel of a Michel Gondry music video – full of experimental shots that don’t add up to much of a story but that nonetheless provide the viewer with an enjoyable ride. Plus it’s only six minutes long, so you might as well watch it.

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