New York City Dumping Wharf (1903)
Director: Edwin S. Porter
It seems as if there was no subject so mundane or seedy that it was considered unworthy of filming by Thomas Edison and his contemporaries at the turn of the century. Here the cameras – and New York City in 1903 must have been teeming with intrepid cameramen roaming the streets in search of something – anything – to film – capture the work of a few poor souls employed to spread the garbage dumped onto a massive wharf docked by the edge of the (apparently) East River. A couple of times it looks as if they narrowly avoid having the unpleasant load dumped directly onto their heads – something that must have occurred quite regularly judging by the way the carts are reversed to the edge of the dock and their loads jettisoned. Interesting as a rarely seen aspect of city life at the turn of the 20th century.
(Reviewed 18th May 2009)