A LA CONQUETE DE L’AIR (1901)
aka The Conquest of the Air, The Flying Machine
Article 5122 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Ferdinand Zecca
What is is: Trick film
A man pedals his flying machine over a city.
I haven’t seen the complete version of this silent short, but I’ve been told that the YouTube video for it pretty much captures the experience; in this case, all I’m missing is about 23 more seconds of the man pedaling over the city. The special effect is the whole story here; the man alternates between pedaling his vehicle and occasionally tipping his hat. It’s similar to THE TWENTIETH CENTURY TRAMP, except I think this one has better special effects; there isn’t that sharp delineation on the screen between the man in the sky and the cityscape, so it looks more convincing. That being said, there’s not a whole lot to this short, but I do have one question; I can understand the vehicle in question having one of those spoked steering wheels you see on ships, but wouldn’t it have been better to have the wheel facing the pedaling man rather than facing the audience?