La paura degli automobili nemici (1915)

aka Breakdown of the Aeromobiles, Fear of Zeppelins
Article 4467 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 3-5-2014
Directed by Andre Deed
Featuring Andre Deed, Leonie Laporte, Domenico Gambino
Country: Italy
What it is: Slapstick comedy

A newly-married man ends up ruining his wedding night when he believes the city is undergoing a zeppelin attack, and he proves incompetent at following the safety instructions for such an event.

Here’s another title that has been retrieved from my “ones that got away” list, as a copy of it became available to me. I have a little background to cover on this title, though. It first entered my hunt list as BREAKDOWN OF THE AEROMOBILES, a title that certainly made it sound like a science fiction epic about flying cars. However, it turns out that this title was the translation of a misspelling of the original title; the Italian word “Panna” means breakdown, and the Italian word “Paura” means fear. Furthermore, as exotic as an aeromobile sounds, it turns out that the Italian word “aeromobili” actually translates as zeppelin. Hence, the correct translation of the title is FEAR OF ZEPPELINS. You’ll notice that the science fiction content has flown out the window.

Furthermore, having seen the movie, you don’t even get a zeppelin; the hero only thinks there’s a zeppelin invasion when he mistakes a honking horn as an alarm. Most of the movie has him destroying everything around him as he incompetently tries to follow the instructions on a zeppelin defense flier he has seen. Andre Deed does seem to be pretty creative with slapstick mayhem, but since the subtitles in the short were all in Italian, I couldn’t quite appreciate it because I never really knew just what he failed to understand in the instructions. But, in short, there’s no fantastic content here, and the title only made it to my hunt list as the result of a series of mistakes, which, if you think about it, parallels what happens in the movie itself.


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