A rare, nitrate film reel, shot by the Miles Brothers, with nine minutes of footage capturing San Francisco two weeks after the devastating 1906 earthquake, surfaced at the Alemany Flea Market and will premiere at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont on April 14.
“Miles Brothers footage shot after the earthquake is extremely difficult to find,” film historian David Kiehn told the San Francisco Chronicle. “They shot more footage than anyone else after the earthquake, almost 7,000 feet of it, I believe. Almost two hours of footage and practically none of it survived. This nine-minute piece is the biggest segment that I’ve seen anywhere and another great part of this footage is it re-creates ‘A Trip Down Market Street.'”
The Miles Brothers’ most famous work is a 13-minute silent film titled A Trip Down Market Street, which was shot from a cable car days before the earthquake.
Images from the new reel reportedly show the streets of San Francisco in utter ruins.
The film was reportedly originally purchased by David Silver from the flea market in 2016. The nitrate reel is extremely flammable and was reportedly “an inch away from it going up in flames” the day Silver purchased it.
“Eighty or 90 percent of it is completely unseen footage,” Nick’s brother, Jason Wright, who owns Silver Shadows Gallery Ltd., told the San Francisco Chronicle. “And 10 percent is much better quality [than the previously known footage].”
The Golden State is still haunted by looming fears of “the big one,” an earthquake that will supposedly be so large that it could cause billions of dollars in damage and many casualties.