This database was created in 2012 and has been developed and curated by Barbara Flueckiger, professor at the Department of Film Studies, University of Zurich to provide comprehensive information about historical film color processes invented since the end 19th century including specific still photography color technologies that were their conceptual predecessors.
Timeline of Historical Film Colors is started with Barbara Flueckiger’s research at Harvard University in the framework of her project Film History Re-mastered, funded by Swiss National Science Foundation, 2011-2013.
In 2013 the University of Zurich and Swiss National Science Foundation awarded additional funding for the elaboration of this web resource. 80 financial contributors sponsored the crowdfunding campaign Database of Historical Film Colors with more than USD 11.100 in 2012. In addition, the Institute for the Performing Arts and Film, Zurich University of the Arts provided a major contribution to the development of the database. Many further persons and institutions have supported the project, see acknowledgements.
Since February 2016 the database has been redeveloped in the framework of the research project Film Colors. Technologies, Cultures, Institutions funded by a grant from Swiss National Science Foundation, see project details on SNSF grant database.
Follow the links “Access detailed information ›” to access the currently available detail pages for individual processes. These pages contain an image gallery, a short description, a bibliography of original papers and secondary sources connected to extended quotes from these sources, downloads of seminal papers and links. We are updating these detail pages on a regular basis.
In June 2015, the European Research Council awarded the prestigious Advanced Grant to Barbara Flueckiger for her new research project FilmColors. Bridging the Gap Between Technology and Aesthetics, see press release of the University of Zurich and short abstract on the university’s research database.
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Detail Agfa Pentachrom. Source: Arens, Hans; Heymer, Gerd (1939): Die „Agfa-Farbentafel für Farbenphotographie“. In: Veröffentlichungen des wissenschaftlichen Zentral-Laboratoriums der photographischen Abteilung Agfa, Vol. 6, 1939, pp. 225-229. Leipzig: Hirzel. Photograph by Martin Weiss, ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors.
Grass. A Nation’s Battle for Life (USA 1925, Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Marguerite Harrison), 35mm Nitrate, Duplicating Positive. Credit: Courtesy of BFI National Archive. Photographs by Olivia Kristina Stutz, ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors.
“COLOR AS IMAGE SCHEMA. TECHNICOLOR NUMBER 3 IN KING OF JAZZ (1930)
King of Jazz, the big-budget film directed by John Murray Anderson and featuring the music of Paul Whiteman and his orchestra, illustrates how a familiar film-color motif was re-worked for two-color Technicolor. The motif involves movement toward what can be called red-dominant moments, when red (or a cognate hue like reddish orange, pink, or magenta) ends up taking up more surface area of the frame than any rival hue. Such moments typically occur in the final third or quarter of a shot, scene, or the film as a whole – as they do in King of Jazz. The practice in question suggests a variation on what philosopher Mark Johnson identifies as an ‘image schema’ whereby musical motion is figured as analogous to the experience of the movement of one’s own body through physical space (Johnson 2007: 243-262). The following analysis conceptualizes the movement-to-red in King of Jazz as an image schema in which music, vocals, the physical gestures of the performer, cutting, camerawork, and color, at key moments, combine to suggest increased proximity of viewer to performer. As viewer and performer come closer together, the image reddens and figuratively becomes warmer. This particular schema is evident throughout the history of motion picture color, from the applied color shorts of the late 1890s up through the digital features of the present.1 To construe the movement-to-red in King of Jazz as an image schema thus opens the way for comparing and contrasting color technique in this unusual revue musical with that in a great many other films – regardless of how they may differ from King of Jazz in other respects.
COLOR AND MUSIC
A full-length all-Technicolor revue comprised of various musical and comedic performances, a mega-budget Hollywood film with no narrative arc, King of Jazz is an unusual motion picture in important respects. But its music-defined style is continuous with the aesthetics of mainstream film-color practice, where color often performs an aesthetic function linked to musical accompaniment. In this regard King of Jazz anticipates the Technicolor films of the late 1930s, in which intense, eye-catching hues frequently coincide with musical flourishes (see Higgins 2007: 40, 101-104, 127-133, 142). In a great many color films, from the 1930s up through the present, chromatic changes, like music cues, underline dramatic twists, signal the arrival of characters, mark transitions from scene to scene or act to act, and draw parallels or contrasts between one narrative event and another from a different part of the film. For Natalie Kalmus, Technicolor’s chief ‘consultant’ to the film industry, the ‘color chart’ that her team produced for each Technicolor film was comparable to ‘a musical score [that] amplifies the picture in the same manner’ (Kalmus 1935: 145). For Kalmus and countless other film-color experts in the 1930s and since, deciding on when in a film specific colors appear is like deciding when music is to be introduced.
The color/music analogy was by no means unique to the culture of synch-sound cinema but stemmed from ‘a tradition dating back to antiquity,’ Joshua Yumibe points out (Yumibe 2009: 164). This rich history of speculation on synaesthetic affinities between color and music was crucial to Hollywood’s adoption of Technicolor Number 3, which coincided with the film industry’s conversion to sound and the emergence circa 1930 of the musical as the major commercial film genre of the time. The musicals of the early 1930s provided the main vehicle for introducing the new Technicolor process into Hollywood cinema, which created for the movie-going public an association between the new sound-era genre and color cinematography (Anon. 1929a: X6; Anon. 1930a: 38). ‘[I]t seems likely that [the ‘musical comedy’] will increasingly become associated in the public mind with color, so that a film musical without color will not count as a film musical,’ Fortune magazine reported (Anon. 1930b: 124). The Jolson vehicle Mammy (1930) and RKO’s Dixiana (1931) are among conversion-era musicals currently available on DVD that use Number 3 in one or more song sequences. King of Jazz was among the films of the time to employ Number 3 throughout, from beginning to end.
What made Number 3 a major technical breakthrough in movie-color history was its dye-transfer process, which involved applying two layers of color onto the same side of the filmstrip (Haines 1993: 8-13). The color layers when printed appeared as magenta and cyan, the subtractive primaries. The dye-transfer system provided excellent registration of the separate color layers while eliminating the warping and other defects of the positive prints from earlier, laminate systems – including preceding versions of Technicolor. Since Technicolor films were shown with ordinary projectors, they were distributed far more widely than films made with any other photographic color system. Used in some eighty films of the late 1920s/early 1930s (Haines 1993: 15-16), Number 3 helped spur Hollywood’s shift away from the applied color methods of the preceding thirty-five years of cinema history – tinting, toning, hand coloring, and stenciling – and toward the photographic systems that became standard in cinema worldwide beginning in the 1960s and continuing up through the advent of digital color in the early twenty-first century.
IMAGE SCHEMAS IN FILM
The color/music analogy was highly relevant to King of Jazz given the latter’s extensive use of popular songs. Song sequences in cinema exhibit techniques of editing, cinematography, acting, and mise-en-scène whose music-defined character is evident the instant the song begins, when the image changes, with editing, motion in the frame, and camera movement reconfiguring to fit the song’s pulse and meter (see Buhler et al. 2010: 181-187). John Murray Anderson, the director of King of Jazz, captured the essence of this approach by observing that in his film, “the jump from one ‘shot’ to another is accomplished always on the downbeat of the accompanying music, or at a break in the phrasing” (quoted in Scheuer 1930: 19; see also Anderson’s comments in Anon. 1930c: 122). A single close viewing of King of Jazz is enough to support Anderson’s claim that its song sequences are cut to the musical pulse. Tap your finger to the beat and note where the cuts occur. Of the twenty-four cuts encompassed by the “A Bench in the Park” song number, fourteen, by my count, occur on the downbeat, i.e., the first quarter note in a measure, which theorists of music cognition identify as the strongest of metrical accents (Huron 2006: 184-185). A similar pattern concerns camera movement, such as the crane shot in “A Bench in the Park” that reveals the series of lovemaking couples, and whose tracking motions likewise start and stop on the downbeat.
Enabling the music/image alignment in King of Jazz was bandleader Whiteman’s insistence on recording the music separately from the image in a proper music-studio setting prior to shooting the film. Besides ensuring a high-quality recording, the independent music track enabled the construction of a music-based image, with music serving as the dominant formal parameter, the pivot for the film’s overall form and style (Schallert 1930a: B13). Indicative here are the similarities of Anderson’s staging of “A Bench in the Park” and other song numbers in King of Jazz to the work of musician Ferde Grofé, famous in the 1920s for having arranged many of the hits performed by the Whiteman band. Grofé’s method of arranging involved dividing up the band into sectional choirs of strings, reeds, brass, and so on, and then rotating the music through the sections, each positioned to contrast with adjacent sections in timbre and voicing (see Berrett 2004: 35, 41). Exemplary is the film’s third sequence (see sequences list), whose introduction of the band via a series of vignette-like solo performances led critics to claim that Anderson had created in King of Jazz a visual equivalent for the sound of the Whiteman orchestra (Bell 1930:11).
The 28 Sequences of King of Jazz:2
1. Opening credits (1 minute and 29 seconds)
2. The Walter Lantz cartoon “How Paul Became Known as the King of Jazz,” introduced by emcee Charles Irwin (3 min. and 17 sec.)
3. Whiteman, introduced by Irwin, goes on to introduce the band via a series of solo performances (4 min. and 59 sec.)
4. The Russell Markert Girls dance (1 min. and 51 sec.)
5. The “My Bridal Veil” number (7 min. and 22 sec.)
6. “Ladies of the Press” comedy sketch with Laura LaPlante (43 sec.)
7. The Rhythm Boys sing “Mississippi Mud” and “When the Bluebirds and Blackbirds Get Together” (2 min. and 37 sec.)
8. “Monterey” song number starring John Boles and Jeanette Loff (5 min. and 50 sec.)
9. “In conference” skit with Laura LaPlante (43 sec.)
10. Jack Wright crazy comedy act, introduced by C. Irwin (3 min. and 22 sec.)
11. “A Bench in the Park” musical number (6 min. and 9 sec.)
12. “Springtime” comedy sketch with Slim Summerville (18 sec.)
13. “All Noisy on the Eastern Front,” introduced by Irwin (1 min. and 38 sec.)
14. Wilbur Hall performs “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (2 min. and 55 sec.)
15. “Rhapsody in Blue” number, introduced by Whiteman (9 min. and 19 sec.)
16. “Oh Forevermore” skit featuring William Kent (3 min. and 34 sec.)
17. “My Ragmuffin Romeo” number (3 min. and 29 sec.)
18. The two-people-inside-a-horse-costume gag (1 min. and 23 sec.)
19. The comedian-in-baby-costume gag (25 sec.)
20. “Happy Feet” number with rubber-leg specialty dance (4 min. and 23 sec.)
21. Paul Whiteman (impersonated by double) dances! Introduced by Irwin (1 min. and 37 sec.)
22. Suitor-meets-dad comedy sketch (1 min. and 25 sec.)
23. “I’d Like to Do Things for You” (4 min. and 25 sec.)
24. “Has Anyone Seen My Nellie” song slide parody (2 min. and 45 sec.)
25. “Song of the Dawn” number (3 min. and 28 sec.)
26. “Melting Pot” number (8 min. and 49 sec.)
27. Paul stirs the pot, thus introducing the closing medley (3 min. and 4 sec.)
28. Finis (34 sec.)
A revue musical comprised of twenty-six self-contained song and comedy sequences (excluding the opening and closing titles) connected together via formal patterning rather than narrative causality, King of Jazz differed from the majority of the Hollywood films employing Technicolor, its structure more characteristic of a musical revue or vaudeville program than an ordinary feature film. The choice of the revue format entailed big risks in the fall of 1929, when Universal Pictures, wary of the waning popularity of revue musicals, decided to change course and script King of Jazz around a backstage story about a famous bandleader; Whiteman, however, vetoed the idea, protesting that his status as a celebrity musician made him incapable of playing a fictional character – even one modeled on his own public persona (Babcock 1929: 13, 24). The absence of narrative causality in King of Jazz – or put positively, the formal autonomy of its individual sequences, the show-stopping singularity of each act – allowed Universal in 1933 to release a re-cut version of the film that juggled the order of the sequences to shift the emphasis away from Whiteman, whose popularity had faded over the preceding three years, and toward Bing Crosby, now a major star.3 Like a stage revue, King of Jazz is modular in construction, its constituent acts capable of addition, deletion, and other reorderings. Nonetheless, King of Jazz “holds together,” director John Murray Anderson insisted, given the role in structuring the film played by “certain contrasts and continuities” in form: “The actual plan is bound to be an indefinable thing; but it is there nonetheless. One senses its presence in the audience. It is the design, the pattern of the production” (quoted in Schallert 1930b: B11). In sum, formal continuity via what Anderson called the film’s design compensated for the absence of narrative structure.
COLOR IN KING OF JAZZ
How does Technicolor Number 3 factor into the film’s design? Like other aspects of style, color in King of Jazz varies from one act or number to the next per the revue format, in which individual acts are ordered to maximize the contrast between them. Thus, the ethereal “Bridal Veil” dance number is followed by Laura LaPlante’s comedy sketch, which is in turn succeeded by the Rhythm Boys, a singing trio; and so on, each act displaying a genre-appropriate color scheme. Some sequences showcase what can be called naturalistic color, with the filmmakers exploring Technicolor’s capacity for simulating real-world color experience, especially flesh tones, which had been difficult to achieve with earlier color technologies. An example is the sketch ‘All Noisy on the Eastern Front,’ with its bombed-out chiaroscuro setting (see Hall 1929: 30). The naturalistic aesthetic, however, is not typical of the film as a whole, which, by and large, favors the abstraction achieved through a reduction of the color design to Number 3’s constituent hues of magenta and cyan along with the liberal use of colored-light special effects. The formal ‘contrasts and continuities’ that serve to ‘hold together’ this film thus include an experimental use of color.
Making the color challenge critical for King of Jazz was the need for an extravagant set piece devoted to George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” – a famous concert piece associated with Whiteman since its gala premiere in New York in 1924. The “Rhapsody in Blue” sequence, put simply, had to look blue. That is, it had to feature a unitary blue, unmixed with red or yellow – the hue recognized as the prototypical blue in diverse cultures. But Number 3, with its cyan/magenta base, was unable to produce a straight blue of this sort (Anon. 1934: 94). Anderson recalled in his memoires that he and set designer Herman Rosse, aiming to overcome Number 3’s limitations, made tests of ‘various fabrics and pigments, and by using an all gray-and-silver background, finally arrived at a shade of green which gave the illusion of peacock blue’ (in Anderson 1954: 124). The result was not enough, however, to keep critics from labeling the color in question as green rather than blue or from referring to King of Jazz as a ‘rhapsody in turquoise’ (Scheuer 1930: B11; Sime 1930).
Song sequences in King of Jazz are staged and lit to foreground the bi-chromatic basis of the color technology, with the result that the already limited palette of Technicolor Number 3 – a two- rather than three-color system – is further reduced down to magenta and cyan, with minimal mixing of the two.4 The two-color scheme carried over to film-related illustrated sheet music editions, whose red and blue design emulated the clean, modernist, poster-art graphics of the film’s mise-en-scène (see G. 1930: 4). Adding to the binary aesthetic was Anderson’s use of colored lights during filming.5 In King of Jazz beams of filtered light strike actors and sets in ways that juxtapose separate and distinct renditions of magenta and cyan. The film’s third sequence, for example, where the band is introduced, includes numerous shots in which Number 3’s two fundamental hues are placed side by side so that magenta covers one half of the frame and cyan the other – as in the striking medium close-up of the clarinet player, his face bathed half in ‘red’ and half in ‘blue.’ ‘Futuristic’ is how one critic described the overall effect (Anon. 1930a: B13). At the same time, the two-color motif, sustained across an entire feature film, spurred the complaint that “[b]y the end of King of Jazz one is tired of particular kinds of red and blue” (Herring 1930: 60).
In combining Technicolor with special effects stage lighting, Anderson and his team invoked what had been a hallmark of their Broadway shows and movie-palace prologues. With, certain of the film’s musical numbers and black-out sketches, critics noted, adapted from Anderson’s stage revues. The epic “Bridal Veil” sequence, for instance, had already been introduced in Anderson’s revue “What’s in a Name?” and then reworked as a movie-house prologue for “the entire circuit of Publix Theatres” (in Lusk 1930: B9). Ensuring continuity between the previous stage work and King of Jazz was the involvement in the film of Anderson’s key stage associates, set designer Rosse and cartoonist and graphic artist Wynn Holcomb (Anon 1929b: 8,20; Anon 1929c: 18). The modernist aesthetic linked to these artists was in keeping with Universal’s boast that King of Jazz had inaugurated a new era in entertainment. At the same time, King of Jazz, in a pattern familiar to media history, invoked the old-media contexts capable of highlighting its novelty. Exemplary is the film’s grotesque song-slide parody (sequence 24), whose farcical rendition of the singing quartet, with their awkward demeanor and tuneless vibrato, both mocks the movie-house song-slide shows of twenty years before while acknowledging these shows as King of Jazz‘s predecessor in the entertainment field. With its futuristic vision mobilized for a re-staging of color cinema’s own past, King of Jazz implies a kind of self-awareness regarding its own place in entertainment history.
THE MOVEMENT TO RED
Signaling the centrality of the movement-toward-red motif to King of Jazz is its introduction over the opening credits, whose listing of titles and names compels the viewer to scan the frame as if reading a page – from right to left and top to bottom. With the frame’s upper half entirely blue while the lower half displays blue mixed with red highlights, the viewer/reader takes in the text by encountering first blue and then a red-blue mix. The movement-to-red pattern plays out over the remainder of the credits as the blue, cloud-like swirl acquires additional red accents. The “Melting Pot” musical number, the last major sequence in the film, exhibits the same schema. Toward the end, the massive pot “heats up” as Paul Whiteman, facing us in medium long shot and wearing a cook’s hat, stirs with a stick. Ultimately he leans over the stew in close-up, red light floods his face from below. Soon after comes the coda, where the pattern is reversed. Beginning with a blue and red swirl pattern (much like that of the opening credits), the sequence evolves so that the degree of redness gradually diminishes prior to the final “Finis,” thus enacting a progression toward blue rather than red. The exception proves the rule, however, since the sequence occurs at the end of the film, where it works as a closure cue, sealing off not only the “Melting Pot” sequence but everything that has happened since the opening credits.
The movement toward red defines six additional sequences comprising roughly one-third of the film’s total running time, by my reckoning. The epic “My Bridal Veil” sequence ends with the seemingly endless reddish-pink wedding train gradually filling the space of the shot, even as the camera cranes back, away from the set. The “Song of the Dawn” sequence concludes with singer Boles and his chorus of backing vocalists striding toward the camera in red shirts, their arms extended to span the frame. In light of red’s familiar status as a ‘warm color’ – reiterated by Kalmus and virtually every other color theorist then and since – the boost in redness suggests a spike in temperature. This warming effect is prominent in sequences in which the elevation in redness coincides with a decrease in camera distance. The Rhythm Boys sequence, for instance, opens with a cyan silhouette of the three singers and ends with a two-dimensional composition much like the opening shot but now in magenta. The concluding image is also framed more tightly, as if to bring the viewer closer to the performers. The schema recurs in sequence 10, the comedy sketch featuring crazy comic Jack White. The sketch begins in a naturalistic mode with White entertaining the band members in what is presented as an impromptu performance. Then, around three-fourths of the way into the sequence, comedian Jack shouts out the non sequitur ‘and then the war broke out!’ and the set instantly floods with red light, which lasts up through the sketch’s end and the closest framing yet, a medium shot of White and a band member huddling on the imaginary battlefield and peering out toward the camera.
The ‘getting warmer’ variant of the movement-to-red image schema structures numerous individual shots, as Anderson had promised: “You’ll see colors changing – colors of costumes, of sets; colors on players’ faces” (quoted in Lang 1930: 75). These changes typically involve an increase in redness. For instance, the shot in sequence 3 featuring the violin section begins with the six violinists in darkness and ends with the reddish pink lights turning on. Further examples occur in the notorious Walter Lantz cartoon about Paul Whiteman’s role in the invention of jazz (sequence 2) as in the shot of the dancing dogs that ends with the dogs turning to face the camera and sticking out their red tongues, or the shots of the lion whose red mouth gapes open each time it lunges toward the camera to occupy momentarily the foreground of the shot. The image of the lion anticipates the cartoon’s final image: the animated Whiteman character, wearing a reddish shirt, leans out from the frame in close-up, dazed from a blow to the head, his eyes rolling and red tongue hanging out. More red at the end than at the beginning, these shots suggest a recursive pattern whereby the principle behind the film’s color design overall becomes manifest on the microscale of the single shot.
King of Jazz is an unusual film in important respects. But its movement toward red-dominant images is evident throughout the history of motion picture color. Many of the films discussed at the Bristol conference count as examples: from The Mills of Joy and Sorrow (1912) through O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000). The concept of the image-schema, which Johnson stresses includes hearing and other sensory modes besides vision (Johnson 2007: A2-A5, 136-145), provides a way of illuminating the logic behind the close interaction of music and visual action in so many films. The question posed in this chapter has concerned how color might factor into the analysis, using as a case study King of Jazz, whose music, visual representation, vocals, and color – at key moments – come into formal alignment so that change in one parameter matches up to analogous change in the others, all working to simulate the viewer’s own embodied movement into (or out of) the film’s space.
1. My sense of the prevalence in cinema of the movement-to-red motif or image schema derives mainly from my experience as a film viewer. The phenomenon has been noted by other critics, however. See, for instance Coates (2008: 2-23) and Brost (2007: 128).
2. The scene order presented here is that of the MCA Home Video VHS release of 1992. This video edition, Bob Britchard of the American Film Institute reports, derived from a print made for general release in Great Britain, and that the scene order for this print does not match that of the prints screened for the film’s premiere showings in New York and London. For more on various versions of the film, including eight foreign-language versions, see Britchard’s entry on King of Jazz in the 2011 edition of the American Film Institute’s Catalogue of Feature Films.
3. The extent of the scene re-arrangement can be seen when MCA’s video edition of the film is compared to the script for the 1933 re-release, available in the Margaret Herrick Library in Los Angeles.
4. King of Jazz is known today mainly by MCA’s 1992 video release, which is rumored to have been “color corrected,” with the cyan of two-color Technicolor changed into a peacock blue. Hoping to find a more authentic version, I obtained from eBay a DVD-r allegedly made from a 35 mm print. The blue on the DVD is closer to cyan than what appears in the Universal video, which has led me to rely upon the DVD for my analysis. Needless to say, a definitive analysis will require examination of a 35 mm print – preferably an original nitrate release print.
5. Anderson claimed that he insisted on colored lights against Technicolor’s reliance on “regulation white arcs” (in Anon. 1930c: 122). See also the remark that Anderson’s use of colored light allowed him to get “the effect of three tones where everyone else has been content with one” (in Bell 1930: 11).
Anderson, H. (1954) Out without My Rubbers: The Memoires of John Murray Anderson, New York: Library Publishers.
Anon. (1929a) “100 Features in Color,” New York Times (29 Sept.), X6.
Anon. (1929b) “Universal Signs John Murray Anderson to Produce King of Jazz,” Universal Weekly 30, no. 7 (21 September), 8, 20.
Anon. (1929c) “Wynn Holcomb, Cartoonist and Stage Designer Signed for Universal’s King of Jazz Revue,” Universal Weekly 30, no. 13 (2 November), 18.
Anon. (1930a) “Two Color Sequences Stand Out,” Los Angeles Times (27 April), B.
Anon. (1930b) “Color and Sound on Film,” Fortune vol. 11, no. 4 (October), 124.
Anon. (1930c) “A Director’s Ambitions,” New York Times (11 May), 122.
Anon. (1930d) “Warners to Feature Technicolor Program,” New York Times (27 May), 38.
Anon. (1934) “What? Color in the Movies Again?” Fortune vol. 10, no. 4 (October), 94.
Babcock, M. (1929) “King of Jazz Lacks Throne,” Los Angeles Times (18 August), 13, 24.
Bell, N. (1930) “Behind the Screens,” The Washington Post (3 May), 11.
Berrett, J. (2004) Louis Armstrong and Paul Whiteman, Two Kings of Jazz, New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press.
Brost, L. (2007) “On Seeing Red: The Figurative Movement of Film Colour,” in W. Everett (ed.), Questions of Colour in Cinema: From Paintbrush to Pixel, Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 2007, 127-139.
Buhler, J., Neumeyer, D. and Deemer, R. (2010) Hearing the Movies: Music and Sound in Film History, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Coates, P. (2008) “On the Dialectic of Filmic Colors (in general) and Red (in particular): Three Colors: Red, Red Desert, Cries and Whispers, and The Double Life of Véronique,” Film Criticism vol. 32, no. 3, 2-23.
G., R. (1930) “The King of Jazz,” Wall Street Journal (5 May), 4.
Haines, W. (1993) Technicolor Movies: the History of Dye-Transfer Printing, Jefferson, NC: MacFarland.
Hall, M. (1929) “Dialogue and Color,” New York Times (29 May), 30.
Herring, R. (1930) “The Whiteman Front,” Close Up vol. 6, no. 1 (July), 60.
Higgins, S. (2007) Harnessing the Technicolor Rainbow: Color Design in the 1930s, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
Huron, D. (2006) Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Expectation, Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT Press.
Johnson, M. (2007) The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding, Chicago and London: University of Chicago.
Kalmus, N. (1935) “Color Consciousness,” Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers vol. 25, no. 2, 145.
Lusk, N. (1930) “Depression Felt in East,” Los Angeles Times (11 May), B9.
Schallert, E. (1930a) “‘Ghosting’ Songs Now Favored,” Los Angeles Times (19 January), B13.
Schallert, E. (1930b) “Revues Stir Controversy,” Los Angeles Times (9 March), B11.
Scheurer, P. (1930) “Jazz Spectacle Sets Pace in Novelties,” Los Angeles Times (13 April), 19.
Sime (1930) “King of Jazz,” Variety (7 May).
Yumibe, J. (2009) “‘Harmonious Sensations of Sound by Means of Colors’: Vernacular Colour Abstractions in Silent Cinema,” Film History vol. 21, no. 2, 164-176.”
(O’Brien, Charles (2013): Color as Image Schema. Technicolor Number 3 in King of Jazz. In: Simon Brown, Sarah Street, Liz Watkins (eds.): Color and the Moving Image. History, Theory, Aesthetics, Archive. New York, London: Routledge, pp. 37–46.)
“The idea of using two films (or plates) with their emulsion surfaces in contact, to obtain different colour records at the same time dates back to 1903, when Gurtner obtained a patent in which he said:
‘Coloured photographs are produced by the superposition of two coloured pictures instead of three. To obtain two negatives, one of the photographic plates is dyed with analine orange and placed in front of the other, thus taking itself an impression and also acting as a screen to the plate behind. The two plates, placed together, film to film, are placed in the camera and exposed.’
This idea was of course a long way from the kind of bi-pack of 35mm films required for two-colour cinematography.”
(Coote, Jack H. (1993): The Illustrated History of Colour Photography. Surbiton, Surrey: Fountain Press, on p. 128.)
“Le premier Technicolor, en revanche, notamment celui des films en costume, renvoyait plus volontiers à des codes esthétiques médiévaux ou pré-picturaux: miniature, enluminure, héraldique, vitrail. Plutôt que de chercher à donner l’illusion d’un monde retrouvé, le Technicolor des années quarante propose un livre d’images à feuilleter. A l’instar du blason bleu semé de fleurs de lis, la Jeanne d’Arc de Fleming (1948, Oscars pour la photo et les costumes) est saturée d’un bleu de France aux implications clairement nationalistes; dans la séquence d’ouverture, Jeanne paysanne est (discrètement) vêtue de tricolore: bonnet blanc, corsage bleu marine, jupe rouge. Par ailleurs ressort le codage des habits ecclésiastiques: le rouge caractérise logiquement les chapeaux et les robes des cardinaux, tandis que l’évêque Cauchon (Francis Sullivan) arbore un violet assez pâle, mat et très joli. On ne distingue pas de parti chromatique tranché, sauf dans la séquence du sacre, réduite aux trois couleurs fondamentales: le bleu du manteau royal, le rouge des étendards, des costumes des soldats et des prêtres, l’or des chasubles épiscopales. A ces trois tons dominants s’ajoutent le blanc de l’hermine royale, l’argent de la cuirasse de Jeanne (dont l’étendard est blanc et or). La “clé” est donnée au début et à la fin de la séquence, grâce aux plans sur les vitraux du chevet de la cathédrale: il s’agit de restreindre la gamme chromatique à celle qui définit les vitraux médiévaux. Moins qu’au vitrail, l’effet produit fait d’ailleurs davantage songer à une miniature médiévale, comme dans Henri V (Laurence Olivier, 1946).”
(Bourget, Jean-Loup (1995): Esthétiques du Technicolor. In: Jacques Aumont (ed.): La couleur au cinéma. Mailand: Mazzotta, pp. 110–119, on p. 118.) (in French)
Credit: Copyright: Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, Wiesbaden. Photograph by Barbara Flueckiger. Source: Archivo Nacional de la Imagen – Sodre, Montevideo/ Cineteca di Bologna. Film: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (GER 1919, Robert Wiene).
In den sechziger Jahren trugen weitere Farbfilmmaterialien wie Agfacolor, Eastman Color usw. zu einer größeren Verbreitung der Farbe bei. Nach der Einführung des Tons ist dies die zweite Revolution des Kinos. Die Farbe setzt sich zuerst in Western und Musicals durch, wo ihre Überlegenheit unbestreitbar ist. Anschließend erobert sie auch die Bereiche, die der Dramatik und Aussagekraft des Schwarz-Weiß-Kontrastes Vorbehalten schienen: den sozialkritischen Film, den Kriminalfilm und den psychologischen Film. Diese Revolution ist schleichend. Sie vollzieht sich nach und nach.”
(Borde, Raymond (1988): Die Filmarchive und der Farbfilm. Eine Einführung. In: Gert Koshofer: Color. Die Farben des Films. Berlin: Wissenschaftsverl. Volker Spiess, pp. 7–10, on p. 9.) (in German)