Best Documentary Movies of 1912
An Otter Study
An Otter Study is a 1912 British short black-and-white silent documentary film, produced by Kineto, featuring an otter in its natural habitat, including groundbreaking footage of underwater hunting scenes. The film provided a novel treatment of the creature, which had previously appeared on film only as the victim of hunt films, with the unique underwater footage, shot by a cameraman behind glass in a tank concealed on the bed of the river in the opening scene, and a concluding scene, excised from the surviving print, in which it escapes the hunters. It was long thought lost until footage from a 1920s Visual Education re-release of the film, re-edited under the supervision of Professor J Arthur Thomson of Aberdeen University's Natural History Department, was rediscovered.
Saved from the Titanic
A young woman tells her parents and fiance (in flashback) about the recent sinking of the Titanic and her experiences as a passenger during the disaster. Her intended marriage now faces a new hazard because her fiance is a sailor and her parents have just been reminded of the dangers of the sea. Premiering in the United States just 29 days after the event, it is the earliest dramatization about the tragedy.
Around the World in Two Hours
A tour of the "ethno-geographical" and "zoological gardens" in Hamburg, Germany, which weaved the global ideas of the end of the century 19th century World's Fair.
Scorpions are among the creepier land animals, and this nature short from Eclair lets its audience see that for themselves, with their scuttling gait, their choice of habitats -- it looks like a dry sand pit, somewhere, according to the Dutch titles I saw on the print -- and their charming custom of going up to a mouse a hundred times their size, jabbing it, walking away, and then an hour later, the mouse is twitching and dying, poisoned.
I don't know how salamanders got the reputation of living in fire. but there are no flames to be seen in the 1912 science short about the critters. They live beneath rotting logs and in the water, which is as far from far as you can get and be a cold-blooded animal.
The Dytiscus is a species of the water beetle and they are abundant in stagnant water. The pictures give an unusually accurate idea of the development of this carnivorous insect. These scientific subjects are difficult to make, owing to the details necessary and this particular film contains a struggle between a Tripon which has been caught in the jaws of the Dytiscus for which the camera man had to wait a number of days before the exact situations desired could be secured.
The Arrival of the Papal Nuncio in Vienna in 1912
Newsreel. A festive procession in Vienna with representatives of the Austro-Hungarian lands.
The Story of a Cocoanut
An educational picture of unusual interest showing the entire process of cocoanut raising.
Actuality set on a sheep ranch and released as a split reel along with the comedy Mabel's Adventures.
The Buffalo Bill Show
Black and white silent film. A Buffalo Bill & Pawnee Bill Film Company production. This film was a different production from the Paul Panzer vehicle, The Life of Buffalo Bill (also 1912).
Delhi Durbar and Coronation
Delhi Durbar and Coronation of King George V & Queen Mary.
Recordings of the Pescara river in Italy, from the mountains to the sea.