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Film, Video Arrest in Chinatown, San Francisco, Cal

Digital viewing copy

About this Item

Title

  • Arrest in Chinatown, San Francisco, Cal

Summary

  • This film shows the arrest and conveyance of a Chinese man in Chinatown, watched by a crowd of onlookers. The precise date of this film and the arrest charge are uncertain. It is possible that the arrest was connected with the smuggling of illegal immigrants from China. By mutual agreement between China and the United States, a small quota of merchants and students was allowed to immigrate yearly, but few legal immigrants actually were of these professions, and illegal immigration continued. One of the San Francisco residences for new arrivals was located at 830/832 Washington Street, the general location from which the arrest party ascends at the start of the film. A second possible cause for the arrest is tong activity. Chinatown at this time was plagued with warfare between various tongs (gang associations of rootless and under-enfranchised immigrants and non-family members). The murder of tong kingpin Fong Ching - called "Little Pete" - in January 1897 set off a flurry of tong violence that continued for months. The practice of tying the queue up on the head, a fashion supposedly confined to tong "hit men" called "highbinders" was in fact common among laborers. The arrested man has followed this practice and his rough canvas jacket suggests he is a peddler or shophand by (legitimate) profession. A third possible arrest charge may involve illegal gambling. Stout's Alley was lined with gambling houses, many owned by the late Fong Ching. Pawnbroker shops were nearby. The circular sign seen at left in the first part of the film is a pawnbroker's sign. All of the local streets had Chinese names. Washington Street was Wa Sheng Shong Hong ("Waystation to Prosperity Street"), Stout's Alley was Lou Shong Hong ("Old Spanish (Mexican Gambler) Alley") and Waverly Place was Ten How Mui Gai ("Ten How Temple Street"). These names are still in use.
  • The following is a scene-by-scene description of the film: [Frame: 0100] The camera was placed at the northwest corner of Washington Street and Stout's Alley (now Ross Alley), midway between Stockton Street and Grant Avenue. The first scene shows the arrested man being led by a police officer west up the north side of Washington Street to Stout's Alley. A group of pedestrians, mostly white, watch the man's unwilling arrest [0140]. A detective is seen pointing the cameraman toward the police cart waiting in Washington Street [0485]. The next scene shows the departure of the police cart with the arrested man, policemen, and triumphant detective, who waves to the camera [0650]. The cart turns east and begins down Washington Street as a mostly Chinese crowd watches from the south side of Washington Street and the intersecting Waverly Place [0755].

Names

  • Thomas A. Edison, Inc
  • Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)

Created / Published

  • United States : Thomas A. Edison, Inc., 1897.

Headings

  • -  Arrest--California--Chinatown (San Francisco)
  • -  Chinese--California--Chinatown (San Francisco)
  • -  Chinese Americans--California--Chinatown (San Francisco)
  • -  Police--California--Chinatown (San Francisco)
  • -  Chinatown (San Francisco, Calif.)

Genre

  • Actualities (Motion pictures)
  • Silent films
  • Short films
  • Nonfiction films

Notes

  • -  60596 U.S. Copyright Office
  • -  Copyright: Thomas A. Edison; 25Oct1897; 60596.
  • -  Duration: 0:24 at 30 fps.
  • -  Paper print shelf number (LC 0992) was changed when the paper prints were re-housed.
  • -  Additional holdings for this title may be available. Contact reference librarian.
  • -  Sources used: Niver, K. Early motion pictures, p. 12; Musser, C. Edison motion pictures, 1890-1900, p. 335.
  • -  Photographed in San Francisco, California.
  • -  Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as digital files.
  • -  Early motion pictures : the Paper Print Collection in the Library of Congress / by Kemp R. Niver. Library of Congress. 1985.

Medium

  • viewing print 1 film reel of 1 (27 ft.) : si., b&w ; 16 mm.
  • viewing print 1 film reel of 1 (68 ft.) : si., b&w ; 35 mm.
  • dupe neg pic 1 film reel of 1 (27 ft.) : si., b&w ; 16 mm.
  • dupe neg pic 1 film reel of 1 (68 ft.) : si., b&w ; 35 mm.
  • paper pos 1 roll of 1 (ca. 60 ft) : b&w ; 35 mm.
  • paper pos (copy 2) 1 roll of 1 (ca. 60 ft.) : b&w ; 35 mm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • FLA 4006 (viewing print)
  • FEC 1492 (viewing print)
  • FRA 0091 (dupe neg pic)
  • FPE 6786 (dupe neg pic)
  • Box 0136B (paper pos)
  • Box 5159B (paper pos, copy 2)

Repository

  • Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA dcu

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 00694412

Online Format

  • image
  • video

Additional Metadata Formats

Rights & Access

The contents of the Library of Congress Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897 to 1916 Collection are in the public domain and are free to use and reuse.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division, Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897 to 1916 Collection.

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Thomas A. Edison, Inc, and Paper Print Collection. Arrest in Chinatown, San Francisco, Cal. United States: Thomas A. Edison, Inc, 1897. Video. https://www.loc.gov/item/00694412/.

APA citation style:

Thomas A. Edison, I. & Paper Print Collection. (1897) Arrest in Chinatown, San Francisco, Cal. United States: Thomas A. Edison, Inc. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/00694412/.

MLA citation style:

Thomas A. Edison, Inc, and Paper Print Collection. Arrest in Chinatown, San Francisco, Cal. United States: Thomas A. Edison, Inc, 1897. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/00694412/>.