While a family is at the shore they see a submarine out on the water. The ship is manned by pirates unloading their loot. A brother and sister go up to the submarine to take pictures of it. They are kidnapped by the pirates. The captain of the ship is a woman. The father races to the sub but by the time he gets there the ship is gone and all he finds is the camera. The father has the film developed. What he sees is a picture of the submarine. He takes the picture to the authorities as proof.
Meanwhile the submarine sinks a cruise liner. A team of underwater divers searches the sunken ship and takes any loot they find. A Navy submarine pursues the pirates. To avoid being captured the pirate submarine takes to the air. The flying submarine bombs the Navy sub and sinks it.
Aboard the flying sub a crew member is putting gasoline in the engine. After lighting his pipe another crew member carelessly tosses away a match. It lands on the gasoline container and explodes. The pirate submarine falls to the ground. The ship is abandoned by everyone except the captain. The children escape in the confusion. Above them men rain down bombs from an airplane and destroy the submarine.
“The Aerial Submarine” was released in 1910 and was directed by Walter R. Booth. It is a British silent science fiction fantasy film. It is also the second film in a trilogy of science fiction films done by Booth. The other two films were “The Airship Destroyer” 1909” and “Aerial Anarchists” 1911. The films are considered the first British sci-fi series. Unfortunately “Aerial Anarchists” is a lost film.
There are parts of it that remind me a little of “The Fabulous World of Jules Verne” 1958. That doesn’t surprise me since Booth’s first film of the series is based on one of Verne’s books.
The film is about eight minutes long. I’ve heard twelve minutes but I haven’t found any prints that were that long. Booth was a magician and a pioneer in film animation and special effects. His films are not as professional as other filmmakers of the time but “The Aerial Submarine” did have a cohesive story. The special effects are rather primitive but the film is a low budget affair. An early “B” movie so to speak. It’s not great but it is an interesting little look at filmmaking in the early 1900’s.