Underwater Footage

In de Tropische Zee (In the Tropical Seas)
K: Carl Louis Gregory. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation / Williamson Submarine Company. USA 1914
Print: EYE/The Netherlands Filmmuseum
Dutch titles

“In April through June of 1914 a joint project by Thanhouser and the Williamson Submarine Company produced some 20,000 feet of underwater footage in the Bahamas. Carl Louis Gregory, an important cinematographer in film history, was the Thanhouser cameraman, using the newly-perfected Williamson Submarine, aka Photosphere, a nine-foot-long underwater tube with a viewing window at one end where the camera operator could work perfectly dry while capturing actual underwater views in their natural settings. George M. Williamson and his brother J. Ernest Williamson, sons of the tube’s inventor Capt. C. Williamson, participated both in front and behind the camera.
The first Thanhouser release from this footage was the five-reel The Terrors of the Deep — after three or four special screenings in July 1914 it was finally released in September. More material was assembled into Thirty Leagues Under the Sea (also released in September).
The shark footage of In de Tropische Zee is either the final reel of Thirty Leagues Under the Sea or additional footage not used in the two Thanhouser releases, here assembled in a special Dutch or European release by a Dutch distributor or exhibitor.”

The Diver
P: Kalem Company. USA 1911
Released as a split reel along with the comedy The Hunter’s Dream (1911)
Print: Museum of Modern Art

“One of the pioneering companies of the film industry, Kalem was formed in 1907 in New York City by George Kleine, Samuel Long and Frank Marion, who created their new studio’s name from the first letters of their surnames. The next year they set up shop in Jacksonville, Florida, where they could shoot “outdoor” films year round. An early educational effort, The Diver illustrates the complexities of deep-sea diving, then a vital part of marine salvage operations.
Deep-sea diving goes back as far as the early 18th century, with the development of experimental atmospheric suits. Although we don’t know of the first instance of the filming of a deep-sea diver at work, this footage from 1911 is certainly one of the earliest. Shot at the mouth of Florida’s St. John’s River, it demonstrates the careful preparations necessary for a successful dive.”
National Film Preservation Foundation