Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mistress of the Air -- May 3, 2012

The ad is from the 09-May-1914 Moving Picture World.  The story is from the 16-May-1914 Moving Picture WorldFlorence Seidell was a pioneering aviatrix who learned to fly from Glenn Martin.  A hydro-aeroplane is one that can land on and take off from water.  Parts of this movie may have been recut into a portion of MGM's "Goofy Movies Number Three" in 1934.  Be sure to click on the images to see larger versions. 

"The Mistress of the Air"

A Three-Reel Production Released by Albert Blinkhorn Feature Company Under the "Deer Brand."

Reviewed by Harry W. DeLong. 

This is an American production and was made principally along the coast of southern California.  Florence Seidell, said to be the only woman in the world flying a hydro-aeroplane, is the star, and she certainly demonstrates that she has the nerve to accomplish wonderful feats, in driving an automobile at full speed and manipulating a hydro-aeroplane both on the water and in the air.  the gentleman in the case, Richard Garrick, as Tom Hendricks, the villainous villain, and Jack Conway as Dick, clearly show that they are not afraid to take chances in the portrayal of their roles.  This picture-play involves all of the elements in its plot -- air, land and water.  Miss Seidell makes an actual fall, accidentally, of three hundred feet from her aeroplane while racing with a motor boat, which was recorded by the camera.  There is a highly interesting romance incorporated in this picture, full of light and shade; told in exquisite photography and intense action.  One can exult with the lovers and sneer at the villain, who exerts every effort to foil the hero, but of course he fails.

The principals of the cast are Florence Seidell, the "Mistress of the Air;" Richard Garrick, Tom Hendricks, the villain; Edith Sterling, Florence's chum and Jack Conway as Dick, the lover and hero.

The story of the play in interesting.  Florence Seidell, a wealthy young lady devoted to athletics of every kind, owns a hydro-aeroplane.  Tom Hendricks (Richard Garrick), the owner of a dirigible airship, who is a fortune hunter, annoys her with his attentions without success.  Florence has met and fallen in love with Dick Sterling.  Later Tom induces Dick to take a trip with him in his dirigible and through jealousy determines to rid himself of his rival.  He attacks Dick and throws him out of the balloon car.  Fortunately Jack drops into the sea and is rescued by Florence, who has been watching them through a field glass, with her hydro-aeroplane.  Later Tim is convicted of crippling the hydro-aeroplane by cutting one of the braces and in attempting to escape from the officers is shot while on a small hand ferry and falls into the stream.  A month later Florence and Dick are married at an aerial wedding, which takes place on her hydro-aeroplane, and they fly away on their honeymoon, disappearing in the clouds hanging over the summits of a range of California mountains.

The three hundred feet fall of Florence Seidell was an actual mishap, verified by the makers of the picture and was most thrilling, but which happily did not result seriously from the fact that she fell into the water.  The machine was totally wrecked, which fact the camera registered.

 An ad  from the 16-May-1914 Moving Picture World.

An ad  from the 23-May-1914 Moving Picture World.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting article. I am researching Albert Blinkhorn as I believe he was the owner-manager of one of our local cinemas in East London (c.1909). He became the president of Hepworth American Film Corporation and arrived in the USA in 1913. He sold films under the company name Vivaphone Sales Company of America.He distributed films under 'Blinkhorn Photoplays' around 1913/14. I cannot find much about him after this and wonder if anybody has any more information? As far as I know he returned to England and died in Liverpool in 1935.
Regards Bob

Joe Thompson said...

Bob: Glad you enjoyed it. Blinkhorn is a very distinctive name. Do you know Luke McKernan of the BFI and the Bioscope ( He is a good guy and a wonderful source of knowledge.

david of Sterling said...

can you give permission for me to use the image of the two women looking into the sky for a novel?

Joe Thompson said...

David: Funny you should ask about it. I was looking at that article and that photo just a few days ago. I give you my permission to use it. I got it from a scanned magazine on the Library of Congress' Media History site: