Best Documentary Movies of 1897
Queen's Carriage and Indian Escort Arriving at St. Paul's
Serpentine Dance: Loïe Fuller
Loïe Fuller performs a serpentine dance.
Giant Coal Dumper
“Shows how a full carload of coal is loaded onto a vessel every thirty seconds at the great Erie Railroad Docks, Cleveland, Ohio. Great clouds of coal dust rise as each car is unloaded.”
The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight
This legendary fight was filmed on March 17, 1897, using 63mm film that produced an aspect ratio of about 1.75:1. Using three adjacent cameras, Enoch Rector recorded the entire fight, simultaneously creating the world's first known feature film, as the resulting footage lasted over 90 minutes in length. About a quarter of the film survives today.
Mr. Edison at Work in His Chemical Laboratory
“This film is remarkable in several respects. In the first place, it is full life-size. Secondly, it is the only accurate recent portrait of the great inventor. The scene is an actual one, showing Mr. Edison in working dress engaged in an interesting chemical experiment in his great Laboratory. There is sufficient movement to lead the spectator through the several processes of mixing, pouring, testing, etc. as if he were side by side with the principal. The lights and shadows are vivid, and the apparatus and other accessories complete a startling picture that will appeal to every beholder.” (Edison Catalog)
Fishermen and Boat at Port Said
Serpentine Dance - Annabelle
1897 version of Annabelle Moore performing a serpentine dance.
99ème régiment d'infanterie : assaut du portique
A regiment of soldiers demonstrate their skills.
Home Life of a Hungarian Family
Nothing more novel than this picture could be shown to an American audience. The view was taken in the doorway of a peasant's hovel. The family, in gala attire, from the grandfather down to the baby, are entertaining some visiting friends. Wine is brought forth, visitors treated, and their health drunk by the happy family.
Buffalo Fire Department in action
Ten horse-drawn pieces of equipment of the Buffalo Fire Department pass by a stationary camera that looks down a broad avenue as they come toward it...
A woman in a white gown performs a skirt dance, using her arms to produce circles and other patterns within the folds of her costume. Her legs and feet appear to be bare. (Library of Congress)
Women Fetching Water from the Nile
Beyrouth, place des canons
Beirut: place cannons.
African men dance, sing and play instruments.
Royal Carriage Arriving at St Paul's
Royal Princes in St. Paul's Churchyard
École de cavalerie de Saumur, le carrousel militaire: Changement de main
A military horseback riding event from 1897.
Royal Carriages Passing Westminster
Head of Colonial Procession, Canadians, etc
Dragoons Passing St Paul's
Head of Procession Including Bluejackets
Caped Mounted Riflemen Passing St Paul's
Life Guards and Princes North of St Paul's
Return of Lifeboat
Along the seashore near San Francisco, a boat belonging to the Pacific Coast Life Saving Service can just be seen as it returns to shore. Several men are at the oars. As the boat approaches land, it must make its way through rough waves and surging water.
Fast mail, Northern Pacific Railroad
Here is a twelve car train dashing along at a high rate of speed. It is seen first in the distance and approaches and then passes by the camera...
Corner Madison and State Streets, Chicago
The busiest corner in Chicago. Cable cars and street traffic of all descriptions. Hundreds of shoppers. Fine perspective view looking north toward the Masonic Temple.
The First Sleigh-Ride
“This subject taken just after the recent first fall of snow, shows two enthusiastic horsemen indulging in a "brush" with their respective horses and cutters.” (Maguire & Baucus)
From Edison films catalog: A long line of horses, mules and ponies are led, driven and ridden into the yards, where they are sold and distributed.
Stanford University, California
People walking around the campus. The view shows an immense arch in the background through which are seen coming groups of students, some walking, others on bicycles. The ivy covered walls of the building form the background to a pleasing picture.
"Two German anglers are fishing, with odd results. One gets a bite, and pulls in a length of stovepipe. The other is so astonished that he falls overboard."
"This picture, taken from a rapidly moving tug, gives a very comprehensive idea of the lower end of New York City, including prominent sky-scrapers, and the Aquarium. The photographic effects are quite stereoscopic."
Horses loading for Klondike, no. 9
The wharf is crowded with live stock, and the huge derrick slowly drops the large box or sling into the bunch. Into this cradle a horse is led, and is slowly hoisted and swung over to the deck of the steamer. This picture is taken ten minutes before sailing time.
First Avenue, Seattle, Washington, No. 8
From Edison films catalog: Taken during the Klondike excitement. The streets are crowded with miners buying outfits and supplies. Mule trains, trolley cars and hurrying pedestrians give life and bustle to the scene. 50 feet. $7.50. Advertised as part of the "Northern Pacific Railway Series" (Edison films catalog): The following pictures were taken by our artists at various points on the Northern Pacific Railway. We are greatly indebted to their officials who afforded us every opportunity in their power to obtain these splendid views. Many of the scenes are incident to the excitement prevailing at the time of the Klondike gold rush. They show the resources of this company for handling large numbers of people, baggage, freight and excursion parties, and give to prospective tourists and merchants an idea of the facilities with which this road handles traffic of all kinds (p. 9). (LoC)
Hotel Del Monte
Shows a party of tourists at this famous resort; located in Monterey, Cal., on the Southern Pacific Railroad. The magnificence of its surroundings is clearly shown. This early sponsored film by Southern Pacific Railroad offers views of tourists at the opulent resort in Monterey, California.
Free-for-All race at Charter Oak Park
Great horse racing on the famous Hartford track, showing start and finish of a 2.04 3/4 heat run by the fastest harness horse in the world, John R. Gentry.
A Victorian couple dancing.
Launch of life boat
This Edison short delivers everything the title says. In 24-seconds we see a boat being lowered into the water led by Capt. Joseph Hodgson. The boat is put into the water and it quickly disappears out of frame on a drill helping them prepare for a real sinking.
Loading baggage for Klondike, no. 6
This was the first ship sailing for the Klondike from Seattle during the gold rush of 1897. The picture shows the excitement and enthusiasm that attended the great Klondike exodus. Crowds of anxious gold seekers watch the loading of their outfits, clothing, kits and provisions into the hole of the Williamette.
Shows the wharf at San Francisco, Cal., with a large fleet of fishing boats at anchor.
Another Edison film shot in San Francisco at the Fisherman's Wharf. Once again the camera is looking down on a group of men doing their jobs.
Projectile from Ten Inch Disappearing Gun Striking Water, Sandy Hook
"Result of a shot from the ten-inch disappearing gun."
At the Top of Brooklyn Bridge
"A fascinating skirt dance by the well-known roof garden favorite."
Single harness horses
Shows ten horses hitched to fashionable carts driven past the judges and grandstand to show their style, action and high-stepping movements. Among the drivers, Charles F. (Fatty ) Bates, the noted whip, shows up very prominently. The horses are all of very high class, and the action is of the very best. The film is clear, sharp and catchy.
The Sea Lions' Home
The famous Seal Rocks at Golden Gate Park are here shown. Sea lions in their wild state are lying on the rocks and swimming and diving in the water.
Boat Wagon and Beach Cart
Two carts, one with a boat on it, are being pushed out of a garage.
Launch of Surf Boat
The crew of seven dressed in cork jackets, push the boat through the surf; they clamber in and row out to the wreck. 50 ft.
Bois de Boulogne
A street scene.
The Haverstraw Tunnel
A train travels along the tracks of the West Shore railroad in Rockland county. It goes through the Haverstraw Tunnel and out the other side.
Shows a party of young people in front of a barn door, searching for the red ear, which is discovered, and the penalty exacted from one of the group who resists payment of the forfeit, thereby creating confusion and merriment. The group is animated, and is made up of real farmer boys and girls. During the progress of husking, the farmer arrives wheeling his little daughter to the sport on a barrow.