Film: 7597

Animation | 1910 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

Contains two separate Kaiser cartoons / animations by Lancelot Speed - propaganda and jingoism from around 1914 with later voice over added decades later, by John Huntley. We see Speed himself seemingly drawing in various parts of the animation and the voice over explains that these films were made by Neptune Films, one of the first companies to be based at Elstree in 1914. Voice over speaks of the films naivety and lack of subtlety.

The animation in detail: we see a black and white cartoon-like drawing of Kaiser Wilhelm II in uniform - he has a handlebar moustache and is wearing a helmet with the German eagle mounted on top - the Kaiser figure is sharpening a large blade on a stone wheel - in the foreground we see Lancelot Speed himself drawing a skull and crossbones onto the side of the knife sharpener - in the bottom corner of the drawing is a globe and "1914" suddenly animates onto the picture; then the globe rolls away and the Kaiser figure watches it go in amazement - voice over explains we are seeing Lancelot Speed at work creating one of his animated films about the Kaiser and gallant Tommies.

A cartoon animation of Kaiser Bill is next seen standing adjacent a pile of armaments and bomb cases - on the left is another cartoon depiction, that of Franz Joseph 1, Emperor of Austria, with his large characteristic whiskery sideburns, large moustache and bald head. - their names appear on the animation thus identifying the two figures - the figures acknowledge each another and seem to blow kisses to one another as martial music plays - Franz Josef then picks up a large rifle and adds it to the pile of armaments and a halo appears over the head of Kaiser Wilhelm as the date, 1914, appears over their heads alongside a large airship which pitches to and fro between them before Wilhelm catches it.

We then see Kaiser Bill looking through a telescope. The Kaiser is next seen with his telescope mounted on a tripod - he is looking towards a castle as his daschund sits under the tripod - Wilhelm is sitting on a mound pointing at the castle and his eyes move to and fro in a Captain Pugwash kind of way - he smiles and looks pleased as his dog stands on its hind legs.

Now we see a caption which says JOHN BULL IS FAST ASLEEP. HOCH! HOCH!

The voice over tells us about the films and how they were like potted histories of the propaganda war.

The next part of the animation shows John Bull dressed in top hat, riding boots and hunting garb fast asleep by the side a road - the white cliffs of Dover are seen in the background. Now we see a map of Europe with Belgium highlighted as the ominous shadow of the Kaiser looms over it - he holds out his hands rapaciously and then rips Belgium from the map, crumpling it up and then pointing to where it says "Germany".

We then see a woman on a hillside watching over a country which is identified as Belgium - Wilhelm appears with dragon's wings on his back in the guise of a monstrous beast - he preys on her and she turns in fear and apprehension but the Kaiser grabs her (Belgium) and puts her in chains.

Once again we see John Bull still fast asleep but this time the figure of Britannia appears like a ghost by his side - her shield decorated with the Union Jack - she considers what to do then prods John Bull with her spear, he wakes up and she points into the distance; he sits up open mouthed.

We go back to the dragon Wilhelm and the enslaved woman. John Bull now prepares himself by taking off his jacket and raising his fists - he moves off to tackle the Kaiser. Britannia is now see in her helmet carrying her trident and blowing a hunting horn. There is a break in the film before we move to a separate animation.

We see a ship sinking in the sea with a figure on board. Then comes an animation of the Kaiser in the guise of an ordinary seaman who is sitting on a barrel floating on the sea - he is wearing a military decoration around his neck and on his hat is written CO…..T - again we see Lancelot Speed sketching in the animation in the foreground - he write "Light Lager" on the side of the barrel and puts the words "Gone Bust" in the sky - the sailor falls off the barrel and disappears into the sea and we see the words "swelled head" floating on the waves as Rule Britannia plays - the Kaiser's head comes up from beneath the sea and swells up into a large lump. Then we see a half drawn figure of Britannia with Speed's head in the foreground - he is drawing her - the animation completes itself as all the detail and background is filled in and Speed writes "Still Rules" in the sky as the music ends.


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