This feels like a late addition. I’m trying to remember what I had for this year before this came on. I think it was A Trip Down Market Street, so I could talk about the actuality and maybe mention the Phantom Ride films as well. But this is basically the same thing and adds a lot more novelty to it.
Now that I’m looking, other options were other Melies films (redundant), The ‘?’ Motorist (which is nice, but more of a combination trick film and fantasy film), and Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend (which doesn’t provide much to talk about). This one really manages to check all the boxes.
This film is basically one of the first documentaries. The great San Francisco Earthquake happened in 1906 (which became the climax of its own film, thirty years later, starring Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald and Spencer Tracy), and after it was over, someone took a camera and started filming all of the destruction. So they actively thought, “Let’s document this on film.” Which is essentially what a documentary is. And it captures incredible footage for the time of the destruction caused by the earthquake. (more…)