Monday, October 24, 2011

A Trip Down Market Street

The historic silent film "A Trip Down Market Street" has been around in bits and pieces in an inferior condition for years. However, in recent years the entire film was digitally-restored to it's original complete length by the commission of San Francisco film archivist Rick Prelinger. After some thorough detective work by Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum archivist David Kiehn it was incontrovertibly determined to have been recorded by the Miles Brothers on April 14, 1906. This was a mere four days before the infamous earthquake struck The City and the ensuing urban fire storms consumed most of  The City including the Miles Brother's studio and archives. It is haunting and mesmerizing watching this film as the ghosts of people and buildings and various modes of transport pass before the camera and pass before history itself. Some of the individuals seen in this film undoubtedly died or were injured four days later. This is the purest version of the film extant on the internet. I prefer its stark silence in contrast to the many other versions on the internet that feature musical soundtracks.

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