Best Documentary Movies of 1906
A Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire
A Trip Down Market Street is a 13-minute actuality film recorded by placing a movie camera on the front of a cable car as it travels down San Francisco’s Market Street. A virtual time capsule from over 100 years ago, the film shows many details of daily life in a major American city, including the transportation, fashions and architecture of the era. The film begins at 8th Street and continues eastward to the cable car turntable, at The Embarcadero, in front of the San Francisco Ferry Building. It was produced by the four Miles brothers: Harry, Herbert, Earle and Joe. Harry J. Miles cranked the Bell & Howell camera during the filming.
San Francisco: Aftermath of Earthquake
Footage shot not long after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco is edited together so that more than one scene and more than one vantage are included. We see fire raging. We see burned-out buildings, piles of rubble, and buildings with only one wall standing. People stand and watch; others walk purposely through the debris. A carriage passes; the camera pans the desolation. A horse-drawn cart is laden with a family's remaining possessions. A sign hangs outside one building: "A little disfigured but still in business. Men Wanted."
A Visit to Peek Frean and Co.'s Biscuit Works
A look at typical activities taking place in the Peek Frean factory: First, the workers get up steam, as supplies of milk and flour arrive. Sheets of dough are rolled, then cut, shaped, and readied for baking. The camera then continues to show further events throughout the work day.
Tartans of Scottish Clans
It's common knowledge that Scotsmen are macho enough to pull off wearing a skirt - perhaps it's all that caber-tossing. This disarmingly simple film concentrates on the tartan cloths of various clans rather than the men who wore them, and is an early filmic reminder of their huge importance to both Scottish national identity and the thriving tourist industry north of the border. The film's unique selling point was that pioneering filmmaker G. A. Smith showed off the vibrant designs in Kinemacolor, among the earliest colour film processes that didn't involve meticulous hand-painting. And no dangly bits in sight.
Surf Scene, Waikiki, Honolulu, H.I.
The documentary features the oldest footage ever taken of surfing, and it was shot in Hawaii by Robert Bonine.
Scenes in San Francisco (No. 2)
Views and pans among the ruins of San Francisco after the earthquake and fire.
Shot for Looting
Despite the lurid title, no one gets shot in this long actuality from Lubin. Instead, it's another panorama, as indicated in the movie's alternative title, of the devastation wrought on San Francisco by the Earthquake and subsequent fire.
This Lubin actuality of the aftermath of the San Francisco Earthquake begins with a group of men, pans to the left, and the people vanish, leaving only the shattered landscape.
Hawaiians Departing to Attend a "Luau" or Native Feast
A bunch of people traveling by foot or on horseback past the camera in Hawaii.
Panorama of Market Street, the City Hall, Taken from the Roof of the U.S. Mint
A camera starts on a sloppy scene: people walking around, a building that's seen better days, palm trees, with fronds waving in the breeze. As the camera pans to the left, the busy people continue, but the audience sees the devastation left by the San Francisco Earthquake.