Search - National Geographic: San Francisco's Great Quake on DVD

National Geographic: San Francisco's Great Quake
National Geographic San Francisco's Great Quake
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 30min

As only National Geographic can, The Great Quake tells the terrifying and inspiring tale of a pitched battle between man and nature told by the stories of people who lived through it. On April 18, 1906 the greatest natural...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
Studio: National Geographic Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/18/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Not what I'd expect from National Geographic
BrianF | Venice, CA | 05/15/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I was disappointed with this title. Obviously cut down from a TV version, it contains very little history of San Francisco prior to the quake, but focuses more on three people and what the quake was like for them, done in some pretty cheesy recreations. The acting was really bad, punctuated only by the whiney on camera interview with the guy who wrote a novel based on the quake, which is going to be a movie. I was looking for a real documentary, and this ended up being a cheesy 90 minutes of filler that spent more time on the "corruption" of the city government, and less on how the citizens and the city were affected by the disaster. I don't recommend it. I bought the "Disaster by the Bay" DVD from the bookstore over the weekend (it's also available here) and it's incredible. Great insight into the life and times that were San Francisco in the early 1900s, incredible editing and narration, and NO cheesy actors. The recreation of the earthquake sequence is worth the price of admission. I'd recommend that one over this one."
Cheesy indeed
Brian M. Cooke | Colorado, USA | 05/18/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Nonstop wiggly camera moves, fuzzy pictures and other creative modern TV effects that distracted from the story, which is presented in an overwrought Geraldo Rivera style. I gave up after about 15 minutes."
Roger Long | Port Clinton, OH USA | 09/22/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I expected much better from National Geographic. Whoever made the choices with respect to how this story would be presented completely missed the point.

Actors were chosen to play historic figures, and the film of them is interspersed with historic motion pictures from 1906. Fine, but the viewer is not always certain as to which is which.

There is no explanation at all of what caused this earthquake, where it was centered, and very little of how the topography today reflects that quake from a century ago. There is also a bit of misinformation: the San Francisco temblor was NOT the biggest quake to hit the United States. Nearly a century before the San Francisco disaster a quake along the Mississippi River rang the church bells in Boston and made the Ohio River flow backwards. Reelfoot Lake was formed and there are still many signs extant (sand boils, etc.) from that quake.

The narration of the San Francisco DVD is overly dramatic. Obviously the director didn't trust the actual words of survivors, so he souped it up a little--more than a little in the case of the Chinese youth. It was really annoying. The narrators from the present day used hyperbole when a simple statement of what occurred would have sufficed. It was not necessary to keep saying how terrible it was--we can see that.

The graphics are simply wretched, especially in the city map showing the location of buildings, of fires, and other data. Unless the viewer is very familiar with the city layout, the map graphics make no sense at all. There is no sense of east and west, north and south, Pacific and Bay. It would have been better to show an aerial photo of the city today and then show the same locations, along with what is on that site now.

I realize that there must be some degree of entertainment in the imparting of knowledge, but the entertainment cannot over-ride the facts. We still don't know how this compares with other quakes on the Richter scale--there was no method of accurate measurement in 1906. But seismologists have speculated on that, and the speculations were omitted. We don't know, from this DVD, how many died in the quake and fire--although the film did focus on the property damage. And lastly, some have suggested that the fires were set intentionally because no one had earthquake insurance, but they did have fire insurance. There was a long wrangle to get insurors to pay up--and this DVD did not address any of that.

In summary, this is a poorly conceived film from a reputable organization that should have done a better job of it."
Great for classroom viewing
Science Teacher | 08/05/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a great video to demonstrate the impact of primary and secondary waves in the earth science classroom and provides students with perspective regarding how earthquakes contribute to studying the structure of rock layers.

I'm not sure what video some of the other viewers watched, but I would give this video a high recommendation. Pictures from the actual event are blown up and presented by USGS scientists to demonstrate earthquake phenomenon. While I would agree that the production may be a little over dramatized at times it is important to remember that this event is still one of the United States biggest disasters that contributed to scientists understanding of plate tectonics on the west coast.