Due to the rising commercial demand for dramatic content in the new medium of film, William Paley was commissioned in 1898 to record footage of the build-up to the Spanish-American War – the first major conflict to be captured on film.
Wreck of the Battleship ‘Maine’ and Morro Castle, Havana Harbor present the viewer with shots tracking from right to left of their subjects, both taken from moving boats within the harbor itself.
The Morro Castle, built in 1589 while Cuba was under Spanish rule, looks imposing and impenetrable; contained barely within the frame of the shot, except where the lighthouse juts through the dominating horizontal fortifications.
Morro was chosen possibly because of the stark contrast it presents to the partnered short, where the mangled remains of the hulking American Maine are isolated in potentially hostile waters with smaller craft circling it…
The full 300 word version of this scene location analysis is published in World Film Locations Havana, edited by Ann Marie Stock, published by Intellect Books, 2014.