The Sinking of the Lusitania

1918, Winsor McCay

Posted by John Martz, May 07, 2020

Today marks the 105th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, immortalized here by animation pioneer Winsor McCay. The film is both war propaganda and the earliest example of animated documentary. Taking over two years to animate, it's a remarkable achievement—the sinking was not actually captured on film, but this hand-drawn dramatization, unfolding almost in real time, is no less convincing than James Cameron's Titanic.

It seems strange not to share McCay's more famous Gertie the Dinosaur here first. It's certainly more fun than this. But I just happened to notice the date. Besides, you've all seen Gertie, right?