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San Francisco: Aftermath of Earthquake (1906)

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Footage shot not long after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco is edited together so that more than one scene and more than one vantage are included. We see fire raging. We see burned-out... See full summary »
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Footage shot not long after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco is edited together so that more than one scene and more than one vantage are included. We see fire raging. We see burned-out buildings, piles of rubble, and buildings with only one wall standing. People stand and watch; others walk purposely through the debris. A carriage passes; the camera pans the desolation. A horse-drawn cart is laden with a family's remaining possessions. A sign hangs outside one building: "A little disfigured but still in business. Men Wanted." Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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The only complete moving picture production showing the fire in progress


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San Francisco: A földrengés következményei  »

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Edited into Landmarks of Early Film (1997) See more »

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Pretty Effective
3 August 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

The photography in this short feature is pretty effective in conveying (and preserving) some of what it must have felt like to view the aftermath of the severe 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. In a little over a minute, it shows footage of several different scenes that illustrate various aspects of the disaster: fires, damaged buildings, disrupted roads, and so forth. Most of the sights are those you would expect, but there are one or two unexpected images as well. The print is not always very clear, but then it's not that bad for having been taken in the midst of a chaotic situation, and then having to endure almost a century of potential deterioration.

To those who watched it when this film was first made, it must have been quite an experience to see these kinds of pictures from the scene of such a frightening situation. The images won't seem as overwhelming now, when we see such footage so frequently, but this is still a rare visual record of an event that we'd otherwise know only from prose accounts and still photographs.


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