Early Experiments in Color Film (1895–1935)

Hol­ly­wood did­n’t start pro­duc­ing col­or fea­ture films until the mid 1930s. (Becky Sharp, the first Tech­ni­col­or film from 1935, appears in our col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online.) But exper­i­ments with col­or film­mak­ing start­ed long before that. Ear­li­er this year, Kodak unearthed a test of Kodachrome col­or film from 1922 (above). But then you can trav­el back to 1912, when a film­mak­er test­ed out a Chronochrome process on the beach­es of Nor­mandy. Or how about mov­ing all the way back to 1895? Here we have footage from Thomas Edis­on’s hand-paint­ed film Anabelle’s Dance, which was made for his Kine­to­scope view­ers. For more on the his­to­ry of col­or film, vis­it here.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Tech­ni­col­or Rev­o­lu­tion­ized Cin­e­ma with Sur­re­al, Elec­tric Col­ors & Changed How We See Our World

Col­or Film Was Designed to Take Pic­tures of White Peo­ple, Not Peo­ple of Col­or: The Unfor­tu­nate His­to­ry of Racial Bias in Pho­tog­ra­phy (1940–1990)

Tsarist Rus­sia Comes to Life in Vivid Col­or Pho­tographs Tak­en Cir­ca 1905–1915

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  • Robert Regan says:

    Thank you for post­ing this. It is stun­ning­ly beau­ti­ful. I feel trans­port­ed as I do watch­ing Lumiere. I watch over and over. Thank you again. Does Kodak have a record of the peo­ple’s names?

  • Elli Davis says:

    I saw the one from 1895 before and it is pret­ty amaz­ing work for those times. The one you’ve post­ed is exact­ly the one I have been search­ing for. I have been try­ing to look it up for some time now. It is much smoother-run­ning than I’ve expect­ed.

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