Unlike most "preparedness" films of the WWI era, Flying Torpedo sidesteps preaching in favor of non-stop action. With California in imminent danger of enemy invasion, the American government commissions a noted inventor to develop a flying torpedo. Unfortunately, the inventor's plans and prototype are stolen by international racketeers. Racing against time, master detective Winthrop Clavering (John Emerson) retrieves the prototype and begins arming the California seacoast against hostile attack. Co-director Christy Cabanne expertly emulated his mentor D.W. Griffith in the spectacular invasion-and-repulsion climax. Actor-director-writer John Emerson had previously essayed his heroic "Winthrop Clavering" character in the stage play The Conspiracy.
by Hal Erickson synopsis