Best Documentary Movies of 1909
Comment se fait le fromage de Hollande
Documentary about making cheese in the Netherlands.
Urban Science: To Demonstrate How Spiders Fly
This charming short film is surprisingly technically advanced for its time, using a mechanical spider to demonstrate how the creatures spin the threads to create their webs. Suddenly the spider lifts up all of its legs, allowing itself to be dragged through the air, an effect that is both amusing and disarming, before gracefully descending through a series of mid-air acrobatics. Percy Smith believed he could cure people of their arachnophobia with his short films showing enlarged replicas of spiders, and certainly most viewers would be more delighted than scared by the mechanical star of this short. The final image of a real spider scrabbling around its web might be less endearing, however.
Dr. Macintyre's X-Ray Cabinet
Single shot of a man behind an x-ray screen on which his x-ray is clearly visible and moving. Another man sits on a chair to the right of the screen. The x-ray image that appears on screen is same as seen in last sequence Dr. Macintyre's X-Ray Film. (http://ssa.nls.uk/film/0838)
Meeting of the Motion Pictures Patents Company
A short film in which the members of the Motion Pictures Patents Company (which had been founded only a year earlier) congratulate Thomas Edison himself on receiving a new patent.
Sport and Entertainment in Batavia
Duck archery is not the same as duck hunting. This is a Pordenone moment I will never forget – in actuality short Distraction et Sport à Batavia (1909), the residents of what is now call Jakarta make the most of their leisure time by pursuing a variety of mostly healthy exploits. But really, I can see no justification, nor explanation for why a round of archery needs to be enlivened by affixing live poultry to the target. As my good man Peter tweeted at the time: “One right in the neck, yeesh.” Sensitive viewers should be aware that animal cruelty abounds in silent cinema – the most notable, and egregious, example is Edison’s notorious Electrocuting an Elephant. The most poignant fictional example is perhaps the poor horse in Eisenstein’s October. (from http://silentlondon.co.uk/2015/01/23/10-disgusting-moments-in-silent-cinema/)
Choosing the Wallpaper
A woman is shown various wallpaper samples, in a short displaying the Kinemacolour process
D'où viennent les faux cheveux
On a market day in Kernascleden, two Breton women exchange their hair for a few coins. The hair becomes hairpieces. Last scene, an elegant Parisian removes her hat and exposes her generous wig skillfully coiffed.
Building and Operating a British Railway
Documentary about building a engine.