THE DOG OUTWITS THE KIDNAPPER (1908)
aka Rover Drives a Car
Article 5255 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Lewin Fitzhamon
Featuring Blair, Barbara Hepworth, Cecil Hepworth
What it is: Comic trick short
A kidnapper makes off with a little girl, but the girl’s dog gives chase… and proves rather resourceful.
This entered my hunt list as ROVER DRIVES A CAR, but that was never an official title for the short, so I couldn’t find it until I was clued in to someone in the know. The gimmick is simple; the short contains footage of a dog driving a car, which puts it at least partially in the realm of fantasy. In some of the scenes, you clearly see the dog in the driver’s seat; in others, it’s a little too far away to tell whether it’s someone in a dog costume. It’s cute, but only partially effective; the movie tends to let scenes go on too long for their own good, so it drags a little. Other than that, it’s moderately entertaining.