The Eruption of Mt. Pelee (1902)
The Eruption of Mt. Pelee
Disaster / Documentary / Silent
Directed by Georges Méliès
The original French title is "Éruption volcanique à la Martinique".
Thursday May 8, 1902
This film illustrates the eruption of a volcano in which took the lives of 25,000 people and threw them into eternity. Many eruptions took place and tons of molten lava, rocks, steam, and sand erupt into the air, killing instantly the citizens of St. Pierre. This eruption is the worst ever next to Mt. Vesuvius .
Today's eruption of Mount Pelee wiped out the city of St. Pierre, located on the Caribbean island of Martinique, just four miles south of the volcano's peak. Flaming gas and cinders turned the city into a mass of fire.
"During the intervening hours a torrent of red hot cinders poured down upon the commercial capital. The streets were filled with the destructive outpouring, cutting off all avenues of escape. It is believed that very few of the 25,000 inhabitants could have escaped," reported The Galveston Daily News on May 10, 1902. "Although the Mount Pelee volcano had been emitting ashes and smoke at intervals for several days, the residents of St. Pierre did not apprehend any great eruption."
Note: According to The Fort Wayne Sentinel, smoke and steam had been released from the volcano almost fifty years before the deadly eruption, but no one thought Mount Pelee posed a threat.