Here is an amazing series of clips filmed around 1920, apparently during the travels of a U.S. Navy fleet to various port and other cities around the world. When the sailors get out of the way (as they do quite often), footage of ships in harbors, scrambling beggar urchins in Asia, ugly bullfights in Madrid, sailors cavorting with Scandanavian girls, and scenes of urban grunge and beauty, including classical buildings and palaces, etc., are stitched together here. Great shots of London – I imagine that must be the Admiralty that is so fulsomely filmed – and later of Athens, the Parthenon and other ancient Greek ruins (at 32 minutes in, approximately). It’s black and white, about an hour, and the film hops up and down near the top, but this footage from almost a century ago is … awesome.
The clip, which includes an index of its subjects, is from the Prelinger Archive, sent to the Pro-Urb listserv by Larry Johnson (hats off to him!), who offers footage from just after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. Digging further into his links uncovered a trove of film, including this footage titled “Foreign Cities.” With a charming naïveté, the site suggests donating to a veterans’ charity if one intends to use the clip to make money!