Century Film Project

Celebrating the movies our ancestors loved

Tag: Albert Einstein

July 1916

This is a particularly “bloody” entry in the Century News series, with the outbreak of one of the worst battles of World War One, two terrorist attacks on the United States (one domestic, one foreign), as well as shark attacks and forest fires all hitting the headlines at once. It’s a reminder that the news we see today is no worse than what our ancestors endured, but it’s also a sad reminder of how much damage hatred and intolerance has caused in every era. The movies provide a small escape for us, with the release of a comedy classic and the birth of a legend.

British Tank at the Somme, Sept 1916

British Tank at the Somme, Sept 1916

World War One

The Battle of the Somme begins with the “Battle of Albert” on July 1, in what will be the British Army’s bloodiest day with more than 19,000 killed. On July 15 another sub-battle, the “Battle of Delville Wood” claims 766 South African troops – the highest number lost by South Africa in a single engagement. The “Battle of Fromelles,” July 19-20, is another operation in which British-allied forces suffer disproportionate losses. The Somme will drag on until November, claiming over a million lives.

The Battle of Erzincan begins on July 2, with Russian forces overwhelming the Ottomans and inflicting 34,000 casualties by July 25.

Terrorism: The Preparedness Day Bombing in San Francisco on July 22 kills 10 and injures 40 at a parade organized to “prepare” Americans for intervention in World War I. Two labor leaders, Tom Mooney and Warren K. Billings are arrested, tried, and convicted, but later pardoned on the basis of false testimony against them. The true culprit remains unknown.

Sabotage: German agents blow up the Black Tom munitions depot in Jersey City, near to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty on July 30, killing 7 people.

Jersey Shore Shark Attack NewsAnimal Attacks: The Jersey Shore Shark Attacks take place from July 1 to 12, resulting in four deaths and one disabling. These attacks will later inspire the book and movie “Jaws.”

Natural Disasters: A forest fire in Ontario, Canada caused by a lightning strike on July 29 kills 233 people.

Industry: Founding of Boeing July 15 as “Pacific Aero Products” in Seattle, Washington.

Food: Mass public-dining program initiated during July in major German cities to combat the effects of the Allied blockade.

Science: Publication of Einstein’s “Die Grundlage der allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie, first explication of the general theory of relativity, in Annalen der Physik.

Vagabond_(1916)Film: Release of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Vagabond,” July 10.

Births: Olivia de Haviland (actress, “Gone with the Wind” and “The Snake Pit”), July 1; and Keenan Wynn (actor, “Dr. Strangelove” and “Laserblast”), July 27.

November 1915

The news roundup is late this month, because November is always a somewhat hectic month for me. Still, I think it’s nice to take a look at the items from the headlines of 100 years ago as we proceed through the year cinematically. November 1915 may be one of the most important months in the history of film, especially American film, so get ready for some pretty interesting entries.

Songwriter and labor leader Joe Hill, executed Nov 19, 1915

Songwriter and labor leader Joe Hill, executed Nov 19, 1915

World War I:

The Fourth Battle of the Isonzo between Italian and Austrian forces begins November 10 with an attack by the Italian 2nd Army. The Italians gain some ground, but not their ultimate objectives, while the Austrians are forced to request help from their German allies, not officially at war with Italy at this time.

Also on November 10, the Central Powers initiate the Battle of Kosovo, pushing the Serbians back to Albania.


Labor activist and early member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or “Wobblies”), Joe Hill is executed on November 19, for a murder he likely didn’t commit. His final letter to fellow organizer Bill Haywood states, “Don’t waste any time in mourning. Organize.”


On Thanksgiving Night, November 24, William J Simmons and fifteen charter members re-found the Ku Klux Klan atop Stone Mountain in Georgia. This tiny group would be the nucleus of a powerful political movement to re-claim control of American society by native-born white, protestant men.


Albert Einstein first presents his General Theory of Relativity to the Prussian Academy of Sciences on November 25.


The Triangle Film Corporation built and opened a theater in Massillon, Ohio on November 23. This theater is still standing, and is believed to be the oldest purpose-built movie theater still in operation today.

Several important films were released this month, including:

Carmen” by Raoul Walsh, starring Theda Bara.

Carmen” by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Geraldine Farrar. Both “Carmens” are released Nov 1.

The Lamb” first starring role for Douglas Fairbanks receives its nationwide release Nov 7.

Madame Butterfly” directed by Sidney Olcott and starring Mary Pickford is released Nov 7.

The Raven” starring Henry B. Walthall as Edgar Allen Poe is released Nov 8.

The episodes “The Severed Head” and “The Deadly Ring” of the serial “Les Vampires” by Louis Feuillade are both released Nov 13.

Inspiration” (Nov 18), which included total female nudity (note that “Hypocrites” also did so, much earlier in the year).

A Night in the Show” (Nov 20), this would be the last un-cut movie Charlie Chaplin did at Essanay Studios before leaving for Mutual (“Burlesque on Carmen” was released in a mutilated form by the studio and not restored for many years).

Martyrs of the Alamo” (Nov 21), produced by D.W. Griffith, directed by Christy Cabanne.

Whew! film fans must have had really full calendars this month!