1909: The Aerial Warfare To Come

The Airship Destroyer (Frgm.)
R: Walter R. Booth. B: Walter R. Booth, Jules Verne (novel). P: Urban Trading Company. UK 1909
Print: Filmmuseum/Deutsche Kinemathek Berlin

“Although no spies feature in this film, it can still be classed as part of the invasion scare stories so popular at the time. However, The Airship Destroyer has the added futuristic menace of aerial warfare. The airships here are a mixture of cut-out animation and models made by the great early special effects director W.R. Booth. In many ways, this can be described as a science-fiction film, using as it does futuristic inventions such as guided missiles.
The film was re-released in January 1915, reflecting the then very real fear of aerial attacks from Zeppelins. Indeed, Yarmouth and King’s Lynn were bombed in the same month, and London was to experience raids in May 1915. However, more effective anti-aircraft fire and the newly-formed Royal Flying Corps put a stop to any further raids by 1917. Nevertheless, by the end of the war, over 1500 British citizens had been killed in air raids.”
Simon Baker (BFI-Screenonline)
Screen online