Best Documentary Movies of 1906


A Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire

6.8/10 IMDB

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.

Directed by: Harry Miles
Release date: 1906-04-21

San Francisco: Aftermath of Earthquake

6.5/10 IMDB

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."

Release date: 1906-01-01

A Visit to Peek Frean and Co.'s Biscuit Works

6.2/10 IMDB

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.

Release date: 1906-01-01

Tartans of Scottish Clans

5.6/10 IMDB

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.

Directed by: George Albert Smith
Release date: 1906-05-23

Surf Scene, Waikiki, Honolulu, H.I.

5.2/10 IMDB

The documentary features the oldest footage ever taken of surfing, and it was shot in Hawaii by Robert Bonine.

Release date: 1906-09-19

Hawaiians Departing to Attend a "Luau" or Native Feast

4.4/10 IMDB

A bunch of people traveling by foot or on horseback past the camera in Hawaii.

Directed by: Robert K Bonine
Release date: 1906-08-01

Kongebesøg i Aarhus 1906

4.8/10 IMDB

This movie chronicling the visit of Frederick VIII to the city of Aarhus.

Directed by: Thomas S. Hermansen
Release date: 1906-04-26

The Warwick Pageant

4.4/10 IMDB

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.

Directed by: Louis N. Parker
Release date: 1906-04-26

Human Apes from the Orient

3.3/10 IMDB

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.

Release date: 1906-11-03

Hauling Sugar Cane, Kohala Plantation, Hawaii

4.1/10 IMDB

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.

Release date: 1906-08-15

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