The Dirigible “La Patrie” (1907)
Alternate Titles: The Dirigible “Homeland,” Le ballon dirigeable “La Patrie”
First, I should explain about the title. Most sources will refer to this by one of the above “alternate” names, but I was stuck with a quandary. As this is an English-language blog, I usually translate the titles into English or use a standard English title as my leading title. But, it seems wrong to me to translate the name of a ship, person, or (in this case) dirigible. We don’t talk about “The sinking of the Germany” when we mean the Deutschland, now do we? So, I’m calling it “La Patrie,” but translating the rest of the title to English.
So, with that out of the way, what is this movie? It is a brief actuality film of a dirigible, or what modern Americans would probably call a “blimp,” being backed out of a hangar and launched for a voyage. All of the footage is taken from the ground, although one shot before the launch is close enough to see the captain and his crew clearly. As the movie progresses, the dirigible gets higher and further away. We also see one shot of the crowd of well-dressed men on the field watching the launch.
We haven’t seen a lot of actuality footage from Alice Guy in the collection I’ve been working through for the past four months, but I don’t know whether that’s because she didn’t shoot that much, or it hasn’t survived, or if Gaumont and Kino thought that would be of lesser interest. This is fun for modern viewers because the dirigible is something of an antique in a world of jet flight, and because of the idea that a crowd would gather to watch one launch. It’s nicely shot, but doesn’t offer much more than a quick window into a past event.
Director: Alice Guy (possibly with help from Louis Feuillade)
Camera: Unknown, possibly Alice Guy or Anatole Thiberville
Run Time: 1 Min, 10 secs
You can watch it for free: here.
This is interesting footage. It really gives you a sense of how big a dirigible is…and how much it resembles a giant sweet potato when it’s floating through the sky.