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To Demonstrate How Spiders Fly (1909)

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Published on Apr 8, 2010

This charming short film is surprisingly technically advanced for its time, using a mechanical spider to demonstrate how the creatures spin the threads to create their webs. Suddenly the spider lifts up all of its legs, allowing itself to be dragged through the air, an effect that is both amusing and disarming, before gracefully descending through a series of mid-air acrobatics.

Percy Smith believed he could cure people of their arachnophobia with his short films showing enlarged replicas of spiders, and certainly most viewers would be more delighted than scared by the mechanical star of this short. The final image of a real spider scrabbling around its web might be less endearing, however. (Alex Davidson)

All titles on the BFI Films channel are preserved in the vast collections of the BFI National Archive. To find out more about the Archive visit http://www.bfi.org.uk/archive-collect...

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