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A Tale of Two Cities: San Francisco 1906 and 'Earthquake in Adelaide'

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCine Tectonica
Subtitle of host publicationFilm on the Faultline
EditorsAlan Wright
Place of PublicationBristol and Chicago
PublisherIntellect
ISBN (Electronic)9781783204359, 9781783204342
ISBN (Print)9781783204335
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2015

King's Authors

Abstract

In 
1910, 
with 
the 
horrific 
scenes
 of 
San 
Francisco's 
destruction by the 1906 earthquake and fire still fresh 
in 
the 
public 
memory, 
Harry Krischock, 
a 
newspaper photographer
 and 
actuality 
cameraman
 from
 Adelaide, 
South
 Australia made 
a 
film
 that 
capitalised
 on 
Western
 society's 
raw paranoia 
about 
the 
possibility
 of 
a monumental
 earthquake 
in 
their
 own
 backyard. 
Challenging 
notions
 of 
truth 
and 
fiction, 'Earthquake
 in
 Adelaide' 
(c.1911) 
was 
a 
bold 
cinematic 
experiment
 which
 utilized
 camera 
effects and 
trick
 photography
 to 
simulate
 a 
seismic 
event 
striking
 an
 Australian
 capital
 city.

This
 chapter
 places 
Krischock's
 film
 in 
the 
context
 of 
early 
media
 representations 
of earthquakes
, 
particularly 
the 
widely‐circulated
 still 
and 
moving
 image records 
of 
the 
aftermath 
of 
the 
Great 
San 
Francisco 
Earthquake 
of 
1906. 
Examining
 Krischock's blurring
 of
 truth
 and 
fiction, 
especially
 given 
his 
local standing as a respected photographer and actuality cameraman, this chapter considers the film in the context of a nascent trend of fiction films exploiting current events and the heightened cinematic spectacle of large-scale disaster.

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