The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures
The Motion Picture Camera Goes to War
"Remember the Maine": The Beginnings of War
Soon after their invention, motion pictures became a popular attraction in vaudeville and variety stage venues. Events such as the Spanish-American War increased the movies' popularity, since films of the war sparked great interest and patriotism in theater-goers. Their interest was certainly strengthened by the press which exploited the events occurring in Cuba in order to attract a larger circulation. Sensationalist stories of Spanish...
The War in Cuba
U.S. Infantry Supported by Rough Riders at El Caney. Edison Manufacturing Co. May 1899. Orange Mountains near West Orange, New Jersey. Reenacted by the New Jersey National Guard. Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress. On June 14, American army troops left Tampa to begin their invasion of Cuba. Edison photographer Paley made his way down to Cuba with other reporters...
The War Ends: Parades and Controversies
After fighting ended with the signing of a Peace Protocol between the United States and Spain in August 1898, the film companies were eager to get footage of the returning war heroes. Both Edison and Biograph filmed the Sampson homecoming parade on August 20, 1898, in New York City. Several views of the ships involved in the war were shown heading up the Hudson...
The Philippine Revolution
Although the fighting with Spain in the Philippines had ended in August 1898, American troops found themselves with more battles to fight there in order to assert U.S. dominance over the region. The fighting with Filipino rebels began as a result of the U.S. refusal to include the Filipino nationalists in negotiations over the future of the Philippines. The Philippines were ceded to the...
The return of war heroes from the Philippines caused another flurry of homecoming events. The U.S. cruiser Raleigh was the first boat of the Pacific Squadron to visit the U.S. after the war and was filmed by the Edison Company on the Hudson River in April 1899. The Raleigh was famous for having fired the first gun at Manila on August 13.
A Drama of the Spanish-American War
Love and War was created to be projected while an accompanying song of the same title was sung. Sheet music was supplied by Edison. This early drama of the war depicted a soldier going to war, fighting bravely, falling in love with a Red Cross nurse, and then returning home victoriously. The print in the Library of Congress is most likely incomplete. The Edison...
A variety of sources was consulted for the writing of all materials accompanying these films. They are listed below, divided into motion picture sources, Spanish-American War sources, and Philippine Revolution sources.