THE FUGITIVE FUTURIST (1924)
Article 4718 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Gaston Quiribet
What it is: Comic special effects short
A down-on-his-luck gambler is approached by an inventor who has created a machine that can see into the future. The gambler is not interested, until he learns it can show him the winners of future horse races.
The concept of being able to make a fortune based on information from the future is interesting enough to make for a full-length movie; in fact, it seems that an 11-minute short is hardly enough to do justice to this premise. However, the premise isn’t really what this short is about; when you get down to it, the main purpose of the short is to give visual illustration to several “how it looks now/how it looks in the future” location scenarios, with scenes showing future conceptions of the House of Commons, Trafalgar Square and the Tower Bridge, for example. Actually, the scenes where the current shots of the locations melt away and rebuild into future versions of them is the most entertaining part of this short; they exhibit some clever special effects. it’s a good thing these scenes exist to give the short its fantastic content; they really only exist as one character’s imaginings, and if you consider the plot solely, it could be argued that there really is no fantastic content here. This just goes to show that the fantastic content of a movie can sometimes be based on what the movie chooses to show rather than what the movie says about those scenes.