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PLAYLIST: The World 150 Year Ago Through The Camera Lens

Watching old movies is like time-travel: it lets you observe the people and the cities from another time, another epoch. This series of videos will let you see how people looked like and how they spent their lives over a century ago. We compiled a collection of several major cities and countries, one that you will surely enjoy. 

 

 

1912 Los Angeles, California

Rush through the streets of Los Angeles, California like you never did before. I guarantee that you will recognize some landmarks, and the busy streets with all the traffic, because some things don't change with time. However, I think that the zoo swarming with alligators will surely surprise you.

1890 Paris, France

Have you ever wondered how Paris looked like in the 19th century? To put it shortly, the French capital looked significantly more spacious and less tourist-laden, with all its architectural gems shining with grandeur. See for yourself how easy it was to get a good picture of the Eiffel tower, unlike today...

1931 Damascus, Syria

This is a beautiful short film featuring the traditional Syrian cityscape. The streets are narrow and bustling with people. The markets are booming. The locals are dressed in traditional clothing are busy with their daily tasks: shopping at a local market, enjoying an evening meal, and more.

1910 Berlin and Munich, Germany

These shots of Berlin and Munich were hand-colored and compiled into a short film depicting Germany before World War I. The vibrant colors certainly emphasize the joyous and beautiful atmosphere of these two majestic cities. Berlin looks so different without the Soviet-era architecture that we see there today.

1860 South Carolina

Having been shot in the 1860s, this selection of extracts from the film Birth of a Nation is the oldest video of this collection. The movie focuses on the different social classes of Americans and their lives. But it goes even further than that: we can see not only the lifestyle but also the relationships among people, which is truly captivating. 

1896 Milan and Venice, Italy

Admire the city life and the landmarks of Milan and Venice at the turn of the 19th century. The end of the film also shows the pope's visit to one of these cities. If it weren’t for the historic clothing and lack of color in the picture, I wouldn’t be able to distinguish Venice over a century ago from Venice today.

1929 Bombay, India

Street life in Bombay, India (Mumbai in the past) was certainly very interesting. Some people are walking through the busy streets with big baskets or cattle heavily laden with wares... Some man is getting a shave, while others do their laundry, all this right in the middle of the street!

1898 The Netherlands

In this film, you can feel the industrial era everywhere. It is in the funny, boxy cars that slowly, but steadily zip through the streets. It is also in the beautiful old street lights powered by gas lamps, and in the remarkable metal bridge. I had no idea that the Netherlands looked like this at the end of the 19th century. 

1927 Newark, New Jersey

This is how a tourist video guide looked like in the 1920s. This film features three key sightseeing destinations in Newark: the Newark Museum, Trinity Church and Branch Brook Park. While the camera takes you to these destinations, you’ll get a glimpse of the urban and lively atmosphere of the city and its inhabitants.

1929 Nanking, China

This unique video depicts the street life of the former capital of China, Nanking. Many people wave and smile to the camera, while others are preoccupied with their busy lives. I can't believe that only a few years later, in 1937, this lively city was invaded by Japanese troops in a cruel attack that would be named the Nanking massacre.

1919 Atlantic City Boardwalk, New Jersey

Get a glimpse of 1920’s beach culture by watching this film. What impressed me is the way people dressed back then. By the way, some of the sights featured in this film, such as Lucy the giant elephant, are still open to tourists to this day. Needless to say, the beach and the people who go there look very different today.

1913 Tokyo, Japan

This short film about Tokyo captures traditional Japanese culture and pastimes. It is interesting how some people are dressed in traditional Japanese clothing, while others wear western-style garments. The film shows people walking through a street and children playing different games.
This film is interesting because it doesn’t simply show you a typical Russian city, some important events, and people. Because this is a compilation of newsreels, it has a selection of scenes where you can see industrial workers laboring, and even a man holding and playing with bear cubs.

1911 New York City

Arrive by ship to the bay, exit the port and take a stroll through early 20th century New York. Start your tour from Fifth Avenue, where chariots roam the spacious, half-empty streets. Continue your trip by re-discovering the oh-so-famous New York skyline. My favorite part is the trains.
 
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