Best Documentary Movies of 1923
The Einstein Theory of Relativity
"The Einstein Theory of Relativity" is the short version (587 m) of the lost American long version (1219 m) of Hanns Walter Kornblum's original German feature "Die Grundlagen der Einsteinschen Relativitäts-Theorie" from 1922 that is also lost.
Pathé Review: Monsters of the Past
Sculptress Virginia May is seen making a clay model of a tyrannosaurus rex, which is animated using stop motion, and then fights a stop-motion triceratops. Although Miss May's only known relationship with the movies is this particular short, her contemporary, Willis O'Brien and his student Ray Harryhausen certainly made the field a lively one until computer animation caught up in the 1990s -- and arguably their artistry is still unsurpassed. (IMDb)
The Story of Petroleum
Reel 1, an oil field is located, drilled, brought in, and pumped. Shows the Garber Field in Oklahoma. Reel 2 shows how pipe is laid and cleaned. One section crosses the Red River. Includes views of an oil camp and of a casinghead gasoline extraction plant. Reel 3, oil is distilled at a refinery. Reel 4, wax is removed from oil, processed, and prepared for distribution. Oil products are carried in tank cars, trucks, barges, and ships.
A combination of live action footage and stop-action animation is utilized to illustrate the theory of evolution.
Tut-ankh Amen's Tomb (Daily Sketch Topical Budget 600-1)
"No discovery of our time has so moved the whole world," proclaims an intertitle introducing this special extended newsreel edition. For once, Topical Budget's characteristic hyperbole is on the money. The discovery and excavation (some would say grave-robbing) of the tomb of the 14th Century BC Egyptian pharaoh was already an international sensation by the time this newsreel screened in February 1923. The sense of breathless excitement surrounding the discovery extends to Topical's intertitles, which expend a good portion of the film's running time explaining the relatively fleeting, poor quality images of the excavation itself. But we do get to see the removal of an ebony, ivory and gold chair, and two glimpses of expedition leader Howard Carter - in long-shot from behind as announced in an intertitle, but also a much clearer, unheralded shot at the 'halfway rest house', where he cuts a dash in white shirt and trousers.
Caprera! To the Sacred Island!
The documentary shows the evocative seascape and land of the island of Caprera pausing to illustrate the house of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the relics, the testament and other objects that belonged to the hero of the Risorgimento. Garibaldi's last wife, Francesca Armosino, accompanies some guests to visit the park surrounding the villa before paying homage to her husband's gravesite.