The ‘?’ Motorist is a 1906 British short silent comedy film, directed by Walter R. Booth, featuring a motorist driving around the rings of Saturn to escape the police. The trick film is, “one of the last films that W.R. Booth made for the producer-inventor R.W. Paul,” and according to Michael Brooke of BFI Screenonline, “looks forward to the more elaborate fantasies that Booth would make for Charles Urban between 1907 and 1911, as well as drawing on a wide range of the visual tricks that Booth had developed over the preceding half-decade.” —wikipedia
Walter Robert Booth (12 July 1869–1938) was a British magician and early pioneer of British film working first for Robert W. Paul and then Charles Urban mostly on “trick” films, where he pioneered the use of hand-drawing techniques that lead to the first British animated film, “The Hand of the Artist” (1906).
Booth, the son of a porcelain painter, followed his father with an apprentiship at the Royal Worcester Porcelain factory in 1882, where he worked until 1890. He had been a keen amateur magician and subsequently he joined the magic company of John Nevil Maskelyne and David Devant at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, London, where he is presumed to have first encountered filmmaker Robert W. Paul, who exhibited some of his earliest films there in 1896.
Booth went to work for Paul first devising and then later directing short trick films, beginning with “The Miser’s Doom” and “Upside Down; or, the Human Flies” (both 1899). Many of their early collaborations, such as “Hindoo… read more