Best Documentary Movies of 1915
Behind the Screen
A look behind the scenes at Universal Studios in 1915.
Mabel and Fatty Viewing the World's Fair at San Francisco
Frequent comedy co-stars Fatty Arbuckle and Mabel Normand take viewers on a tour of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. Attractions shown include the U.S. Battleship "Oregon", the Australian convict ship "Success" (complete with such punishment devices as a flogging rack and a spiked Iron Maiden), the world's tallest flagpole (251 feet), the Court of Abundance, the Court of the Universe (with sunken garden) and the Tower of Jewels. Fatty and Mabel also visit Frisco's still-under-construction City Hall, accompanied by Frisco's then-Mayor James Rolph Jr. Also appearing in the film is opera star Ernestine Schumann-Heink.
A Glimpse of the San Diego Exposition
In 1915-16, San Diego's Balboa Park was the scene of an exposition to mark completion of the Panama Canal. This film takes us through the exposition: from the Cabrillo bridge and a panoramic view of the site, to the facades of the California Building, Horticultural Building, Panama Canal Exhibit, and the reproduction of the locks at Gatuna. We see tourists on the isthmus and a crowd outside the Panama Film Company's exhibit of how movies are made. We watch the feeding of fish at the laguna, and we end at the Plaza de Panama where toddlers are surrounded by pigeons. Fatty Arbuckle makes a brief appearance outside the Panama Film exhibit. Titles give us each structure's cost.
On the Firing Line with the Germans
American-made 1915 documentary that follows the Imperial German army as it pushes eastward through Poland during World War I. Some actual battle footage is included along with scenes of military camp life, convalescing soldiers, logistics and captured prisoners of war (English, French and Russian). After the battles are over, the film concludes with sobering views of the plight of the civilian population during the war.
Goumiers algériens en Belgique
What we see in this short are Algerian spahis, cavalry units from that country. We watch their military evolutions, their charging at the camera and across the muddy shores. We see them at prayer.
Views of Tokyo, Japan
Old film of Tokyo, Japan in 1913 and 1915.
S.S. Lusitania Leaves New York City on Last Voyage
Passengers arrive at the dock and go aboard the ship. The Lusitania's flag is raised. Passengers, including author Elbert Hubert, pose at the ship's rail. Tugs maneuver the Lusitania into the channel.
Shows sights in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul. Included sights include a scene at a local barber and ships sailing on the Bosporus.
De Fransche Pyreneeën
Shots of the landscape in de Pyrenees, mainly wildly swirling water floods. The mountain pass of Hourat.
Fight for the Dardanelles
The film uses stop-frame animation to create maps on the screen, and showed the then-current military situation in the Dardanelles, using various maps to assist understanding. Small cardboard cut-outs show the deployment of men and ships. Intertitles explain tactics, and shelling explosions are illustrated by clouds of cotton wool.
Grand Canyon Film Show
In 1902, Emery and Ellsworth Kolb opened a studio in the Grand Canyon and began making photographs of mule parties, landscapes, river adventures, and nearly every other dramatic scene and incident that occurred in the area. They also successfully navigated the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1911, filming their journey. This film ran in the Kolb Studio in the Grand Canyon from 1915 until Emery's death in 1976.
The Battle and Fall of Przemysl
The story of the battle for the Polish city of Przmysl during the 1918-19 Polish-Ukrainian War, between Ukrainian irregulars and a force of Polish troops, militia and civilian volunteers, which resulted in a victory by Polish forces, who drove the Ukrainians out of the city.