The Flying Torpedo

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The Flying Torpedo
Flying Torpedo poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by John B. O'Brien
Christy Cabanne
Produced by D. W. Griffith
Written by Robert M. Baker
John Emerson
D. W. Griffith (uncredited)
Starring John Emerson
Bessie Love
Cinematography George W. Hill
Distributed by Triangle Film Corporation
Release date
  • March 12, 1916 (1916-03-12)
Running time
50 minutes
Country United States
Language Silent (English intertitles)

The Flying Torpedo is a 1916 American silent drama directed by John B. O'Brien and Christy Cabanne. The film was written by John Emerson (who also stars), Robert M. Baker and D. W. Griffith (who was not credited). The film is now considered lost.[1][2]


Set in 1921, the film centers around the character of novelist Winthrop Clavering (Emerson), known as "The World's Greatest Detective". Clavering befriends young inventor Bartholomew Thompson (Spottiswoode Aitken), who has just invented a radio controlled flying bomb (weaponry that would come to be known as guided missiles).[1][3] Bartholomew is soon murdered by spies, described as "yellow men from the East" in the film, who steal his new invention. Clavering and his Swedish maid Hulda (Bessie Love) set out to find the spies who have been invading the United States. Clavering and Hulda catch up with spies just as they invade California and force them out of the country with the same device they stole.[4]

Eric von Stroheim played a small supporting role as an evil German officer.


Production notes[edit]

John Emerson had previously portrayed the role of Winthrop Clavering in the play The Conspiracy, from December 1912 to March 1914.[5]

The film was produced by D. W. Griffith's film production company Fine Arts and was distributed by Triangle Film Corporation. Griffith also helped to write the film's scenario with lead John Emerson and Robert Baker.[2] Griffith was also responsible for casting a teenage Bessie Love in the film who he discovered and cast in several of his films in 1915.[6] Filming began in July 1915 under the working title The Scarlet Band.[7] Christy Cabanne directed the battle sequences.[3]


  1. ^ a b Lennig, Arthur (2004). Stroheim. University Press of Kentucky. p. 37. ISBN 0-813-13750-0. 
  2. ^ a b Soister 2012, p. 207
  3. ^ a b "The Flying Torpedo". Retrieved January 6, 2015. 
  4. ^ Paris, Michael (1995). From the Wright Brothers to Top Gun: Aviation, Nationalism, and Popular Cinema. Manchester University Press. pp. 31–32. ISBN 0-719-04073-6. 
  5. ^ Soister 2012, p. 209
  6. ^ Soister 2012, pp. 209–210
  7. ^ Soister 2012, p. 210
  • Soister, John T. (2012). American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913–1929. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-786-48790-9. 

External links[edit]