Cinema of Disaster

When the Earth Trembled
R: Barry O’Neil. B: Edwin Barbour. D: Harry Myers, Ethel Clayton, Richard Morris. P: Lubin Manufacturing Company. USA 1913
Print: EYE collection
Dutch titles

When the Earth Trembled
Earthquake Sequence

>>> view this sequence on Vimeo

“In 2015 the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and EYE Filmmuseum collaborated to restore the 1913 feature When the Earth Trembled. Premieres of the restoration were held in Amsterdam in March 2015 and San Francisco in May 2015.
This excerpt presents the film’s re-creation of the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. The musical accompaniment with this clip is performed (by) Stephen Horne and Frank Bockius, and was recorded live at 2015 San Francisco Silent Film Festival.”

When the Earth Trembled
Restoration Demo, comparing different sources

“There are three known surviving copies of WHEN THE EARTH TREMBLED (1913), all of which are incomplete. Elements from all three of these sources were required in order to reconstruct the original three-reel feature. This clip presents a portion of the famous earthquake sequence to demonstrate the differences in the materials, such as the presence (or absence) of a particular shot, variations in length of the same shot, the level of damage, etc. Two of the sources are scanned from b&w preservation negatives, the third (on the right) is an original tinted nitrate print. Videos in this demo are all from raw scans and prior to restoration.
The restoration was completed in March 2015 as a collaboration between EYE Filmmuseum and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.
Clip Courtesy of Robert Byrne, San Francisco Silent Film Festival.”

“In 1913, early film mogul Siegmund Lubin decided to attempt his first mega-production: a three-reel spectacle titled When the Earth Trembled, or The Strength of Love, which would feature the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire as its centerpiece. At a time when the Lubin Studio was producing two completed films per week, an unheard-of four months were devoted to creating the special effects and collapsing sets that would re-create the disaster.”
Louise Brooks Society

>>> San Francisco, 1906