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  • Short Summary

    Wonderful Winsor McCay animation depicting the sinking of the Lusitania.

  • Description



    Title reads: "An amazing moving pen picture by Winsor (sic) McCay." Universal Films - The Transatlantic Film Co. logo on bottom of title. Introductory intertitle reads: " Winsor McCay, originator and inventor of Animated Cartoons, decides to draw a historical record of the crime that shocked Humanity."

    M/S of Mr McCay at his drawing board. He is in a drawing room setting. "Mr Beach giving Winsor McCay the details of the sinking - necessary for the work to follow." A man walks over to Mr McCay placing a large photograph of the Lusitania on the desk. They point to various parts of the ship and talk. "Twenty-five thousand drawings had to be made and photographed one at a time." M/S of animators at work in a studio. Winsor sits at work in the foreground. Animation of the moving sea. "From here on you are looking at the first record of the sinking of the Lusitania. Intertitles give the history of the sinking of the ship intercut with animated sequences showing the liner travelling past the Statue of Liberty. Intertitle reads: "Germany, which had already benumbed the world with its wholesale killing, then sent its instrument of crime to perform a more treacherous and cowardly offense." Animated sequence of submarine approaching the ship. The ship approaches Ireland. The German Submarine U-39 launches two torpedoes at the ship. People on deck of the submarine run to climb inside before it submerges. Submarine approaches the liner. Under the sea two fish look very alarmed and swim off as a torpedo comes towards them. Torpedo smashes into the side of the ship. Explosions wreck the liner, debris flies everywhere. Smoke pours from the hole made and engulfs the ship. The film details lives lost including "men of world wide prominence".

    Photographs of the following are shown in the film: Elbert Hubbard - modern philosopher and author, Charles Klein - distinguished American playwright, Alfred G. Vanderbilt - multi-millionaire and American sportsman, Charles Frohman - the world's foremost Theatrical Manager. "He faced death smiling, and uttered to those about them just before death came his immortal observation that "Death is but a beautiful adventure of life." The smoke lifts from the ship. Intertitle reads: "Germany, once a great and powerful nation, had done a dastardly deed in a dastardly way." Animation of lifeboats being lowered and people in the sea. The ship begins to list. Smoke pours from its funnels and from the ship itself. A second torpedo crashes into the engine room. Lifeboats are lowered down over the side of the ship. Another explosion takes place and the ship begins to sink. People jump and dive off the boat as it sinks into the sea.

    "No warning was given - no mercy was shown. People throw themselves off the boat as it sinks - we see the sinking from various angles. "The babe that clung to his mother's breast cried out to the world - TO AVENGE the most violent cruelty that was ever perpetrated upon an unsuspecting and innocent people." Lifeboats and people bob about on the surface of the ocean. We see the ship's mast going down and its ensign being engulfed by the sea. "Fifteen minutes after the first torpedo struck, the Lusitania had disappeared beneath the waves." The water bubbles on the surface of the sea as the ship goes down then subsides. Underwater scene of a mother sinking under the water with a baby in her arms. She tries to hold the baby above the water but doesn't manage to. Intertitle reads: "The man who fired the shot was decorated for it by the Kaiser! - AND YET THEY TELL US NOT TO HATE THE HUN."

    Note: it is unclear when this film was made and released. Could be sometime later than 1915.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    1915 - 1918
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:
    01:26:25:00 / 01:37:53:00

Comments (1)

  1. Unknown user says

    "Winsor (sic) McCay" - the "sic" is unnecessary, as Winsor McCay is the correct spelling of the man's name.

    Reducing the clip's current date range of 1915-18, the cartoon was released in America on 20 July 1918.

    "The German Submarine U-39 launches two torpedoes" - although this may have been the belief at the time, it is now accepted that actually just one torpedo was fired, and that the submarine responsible was U-20.

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