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.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

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

Quantcast
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.