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.
Army Pack Train Bringing Supplies
A troop of soldiers on horseback enter San Francisco with relief supplies following the earthquake that year.
La scuola di cavalleria Tor di Quinto
Riders at a cavalry school take the horses through their paces, jumping over fences and walls, descending steep slopes, and fording streams. Some horses balk, and riders occasionally fall off their steeds.
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.
Refugees in Camp in Jefferson Square
After the San Francisco Earthquake knocked the city out, and the fires did more damage, many of the refugees from the devastated area settled in a tent city in Jefferson Square. Here are some images from that site.
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.
Luzern und der Vierwaldstätter See
There are a lot of circular pans in this very long (for 1906) travelogue showing the waterfroot of Lucerne, followed by a long moving shot (taken from a boat, since the image rocks) to oe of the resorts on the lake. It's a portrait of a very prosperous bit of city and countryside.
Parade des sultans
A slave dealer exhibits his wares to a wealthy guy in a turban.... and by that I mean he is showing off women by stripping their clothes from them.
Kongebesøg i Aarhus 1906
This movie chronicling the visit of Frederick VIII to the city of Aarhus.
Vanderbilt Cup 1906
A huge throng of spectators watches a car race.
The Warwick Pageant
t's one of those pageants from history, in which Roman centurions fight caveman with halberds, Queen Elizabeth arrives in a carriage, and another queen gets her head chopped off while maidens in long, white gowns and crowns of daisies dance o'er the greensward. It looks, in short, like a Society for Creative Anachronism event, with someone footing the bill so all the Tower Warders' uniforms look the same.
Human Apes from the Orient
The subject is two grotesque-looking human beings who are sitting on the deck of a ship. The two weird individuals sit cross-legged and do the bidding of a man in oriental costume. The point of the film seems to be directed at the fact that the bone structure of the two subjects makes them look like monkeys or apes, and the spectators seem to be trying to get them to behave like monkeys, that is, scratch themselves, etc.
The Arlberg Railway
An early silent showing the Arlberg Railway
Hauling Sugar Cane, Kohala Plantation, Hawaii
The title reads "Hailing Drags". You'd expect some sort of travois affair, but it turns out to be mules hailing sugar cane loaded onto wheeled flats. Considered the ground they are on is very rough, it helps.
Hawaiians Arriving to Attend a Luau or Native Feast
A bunch of men on horseback gallop past people near a shack in this short shot by Robert K.Bonine.
S.S. 'Kinau' Landing Passengers, Mahukona, Hawaii
There's no harbor, and the ship lies some distance off shore..... then the camera pans and a tender has to be sent out amidst the rough water.
Arrival Mahukona Express, Kohala, Hawaii
The ramshackle-looking train on the single-track line pulls into the station, just in front of the siding. People clumb down and go on their ways.
Shearing Sheep, Humuula Ranch, Hawaii
Shows how they cut the wool off of sheep.
Washing Sheep, Humuula Beach, Hawaii
Shepherds in Hawaii push a flock of sheep in line through a trough of water.
Crowds Returning from the Games, Waikiki, Hawaiian Islands
A static shot of crowded trams returning people from an unknown sporting event.
Panoramic View, Waikiki from an Electric Car, Hawaiian Islands
A view of Waikiki in 1906.
Course de taureaux à Nîmes
Lost short film
La scuola di cavalleria in Pinerolo
This one-reel documentary is pretty much what it says in the title. Cavalrymen ride their horses, first over low hedges, then over increasingly rough terrain, until by the end they are sliding down hills to cross a stream and going into caves. The horses don't seem terribly anixous to do these things. Occasionally a rider falls off and the horse walks away, as if to say "See! I told you this wasn't a good idea."
Felling of Hibson Road Brick Works Chimney in Nelson
It is a dramatic film, with its colossal explosion and smouldering remains. Within seconds of the chimney's collapse, crowds swarm in to inspect the site; issues of the crowd's health and safety are clearly not a concern, as people smile, wave and salute the camera.