Best Documentary Movies of 1904
Panorama View, Street Car Motor Room
A camera moving forward on an overhead crane gives a traveling view of men working on machinery. Carts carrying parts and pieces of machinery pass by on rails; cranes lift machinery; and men perform their various duties, including hammering objects. (Library of Congress)
Princess Rajah Dance
A woman stands in front of a building, a chair to her left, dressed in black, full skirt, quarter sleeves, and a scooped bodice. Her hair is piled high. She bows slightly, and, with finger cymbals, begins to dance the cooch.
Billy Bitzer filmed 21 short actualities inside the Pittsburgh Westinghouse Works in April and May of 1904. Audiences of the day would have been treated to footage of factory panoramas, women winding armatures and turbines being assembled. These industrial films were produced for the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company.
Panorama of Machine Co. Aisle
A camera on an overhead crane travels down a large, long aisle where men are shown working on large machinery on either side. Carts carrying equipment are shown traveling on rails down the aisles. There are also men walking in the aisles. From Bitzer's Westinghouse Works series.
Labor Day Parade
Shows a parade through bunting-draped streets, probably in the town of Leominster, Mass.
Giovanni -- whoever he may be when he's not on the stage -- exhibits his trained birds in various feats of gymnastics and cuteness. I particularly like the one in which two birds pull another in a cart, while the passsenger waves a flag.
A Dance on the Pike
A woman dressed as a Spanish dancer enters from the wings, camera right, and starts to dance. Her dancing consists of a series of high kicks, followed by a routine of handsprings, splits, and some contortionist positions. At the end, she takes a bow.
The Coney Island Beach Patrol
Two small boys with policemen's hats and nightsticks are struggling with another small boy. The object of their struggle seems to be to arrest him. Approaching the camera from a distance are two men in bathing suits, pretending they are horses, and pulling what is supposed to be a patrol cart. The small culpit is put in the wagon and taken back to a tent on the sand. The tent bears the sign "police patrol headquarters."
Sir Hiram Maxim's Captive Flying Machines
It's one on those thingies you see at amusement parks. You get into a small gondola, the machine starts whirling about, and centrifugal force lifts the gondolas up in the air.
Boxing Horses Luna Park, Coney Island
Inside a boxing ring are two horses. Attendants put white bag-like objects on their forefeet. At a signal from the ringmaster, the two horses stand on their hind legs and start boxing.