Please access detailed information on over 250 individual film color processes via the classification system on this page, display the Timeline of Historical Film Colors in chronological order, search via the tag cloud at the end of this page or directly on the search page, or see the contributing archives’ collections through the header slides (click > on the header slide’s right hand side).
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.
Subscribe to the blog to receive all the news: http://filmcolors.org/ (check out sidebar on individual entries for the “follow” button).
The development of the project started in fall 2011 with stage 1. Each stage necessitated a different financing scheme. We are now in stage 3 and are looking for additional funding by private sponsors. Please use the Stripe interface to pay conveniently online or transfer your financial contribution directly to
Account IBAN CH2509000000604877146
Account holder: Barbara Flueckiger, CH-8005 Zurich, Switzerland
SWIFT Code / BIC: P O F I C H B E X X X
Bank: PostFinance AG, Mingerstrasse 20, CH-3030 Bern, Switzerland
Clearing Nummer: 09000
Read more about the financial background of the project on filmcolors.org.
The author has exercised the greatest care in seeking all necessary permissions to publish the material on this website. Please contact the author immediately and directly should anything infringe a copyright nonetheless.
Virages sur films à support teinté Pathé, Film teinté rose (virage bleu) pink tinted stock with blue toning. Credit: Clayton Scoble and Stephen Jennings, Harvard University, Fine Arts Library. Source: Didiée, L. (1926): Le Film vierge Pathé. Manuel de développement et de tirage. Paris: Pathé. View Quote
“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 Universale 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. (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 and Liz Watkins (eds.): Color and the Moving Image. History, Theory, Aesthetics, Archive. New York, London: Routledge, pp. 37–46.)
Safranine dye tone. Medium positive. Source: Eastman Kodak Company (1927): Tinting and Toning of Eastman Positive Motion Picture Film. Fourth Edition. Revised. Rochester NY: Research Laboratories Eastman Kodak Company. Photograph by Martin Weiss, ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors.
“Guy Green (1913–2005) was born in Somerset. He first entered the film industry in 1929. He worked as a camera assistant at Sound City Studios before moving to Denham. He trained and then worked with many celebrated cinematographers and directors, including Gunther Krampf, Mutz Greenbaum, Ronald Neame, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, David Lean and Carol Reed. His black-and-white cinematography was celebrated in particular for Great Expectations (Green won an Academy Award for cinematography) and Oliver Twist (1948). Well established at Cineguild, the production company formed by David Lean, Ronald Neame and Anthony Havelock-Allan in 1944, Green was camera operator on This Happy Breed before shooting Blanche Fury, his first Technicolor film. He shot other colour films including The Story of Robin Hood (1952) and Decameron Nights (1952). From the mid-1950s he gravitated towards film direction.
1954 Souls in Conflict (Leonard Reeve and Dick Ross, GB: Eastmancolor) Cinematographer; For Better, for Worse (J. Lee Thompson, GB: Eastmancolor) Cinematographer
INTERVIEW EXTRACT TRANSCRIPT
DATE OF INTERVIEW: 1 OCTOBER 1991
INTERVIEWER: DUNCAN PETRIE
DUNCAN PETRIE: Did you shoot any films in colour once the three-strip [Technicolor] process had finished? Did you use Eastmancolor?
GUY GREEN: Oh we all moved over fairly swiftly from the three-strip to the single film.
DP: How did you find it at the time? You were saying how these images have deteriorated. What different qualities did this other colour stock have?
GG: It looked pretty good at the time and it is only lately that some film that I shot twenty years ago has gone pink.
DP: Must be really annoying.
GG: I actually directed a film, Light in the Piazza (1962) in Metrocolor and it was photographed by Otto Heller and he did a great job, it looked beautiful. I ran it about a year ago in California and I was bitterly disappointed – it was all pink.
DP: Do they know why this has happened?
GG: I’m not sure whether it’s just the print that has gone pink or if they struck a new print from whatever there was – I don’t know – I haven’t found the answer to that.”
(Petrie, Duncan (2013): Interview. Guy Green. In: Simon Brown, Sarah Street and Liz Watkins (eds.): British Colour Cinema. Practices and Theories. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 83–87, on pp. 85–87.)
Virages sur films à support teinté Pathé, Film teinté rose (virage sépia) rose tinted stock with sepia toning, backlight, Parisian copy. Photograph by Barbara Flueckiger. Source: Didiée, L. (1926): Le Film vierge Pathé. Manuel de développement et de tirage. Paris: Pathé. View Quote
Pink, tinted nitrate base. Source: Eastman Kodak Company (1927): Tinting and Toning of Eastman Positive Motion Picture Film. Fourth Edition. Revised. Rochester NY: Research Laboratories Eastman Kodak Company. Photograph by Martin Weiss, ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors.
Il deserto rosso (ITA/FRA 1964, Michelangelo Antonioni)
“A differenza di altri autori, il regista ferrarese si convertì al colore in modo univoco e irreversibile con Il deserto rosso (1964): in seguito, non solo non avrebbe più girato in bianco e nero, ma avrebbe assegnato alla nuova forma un ruolo sempre determinante, seppure in maniera diversa da un film all’altro, almeno fino al pionieristico esperimento con la tv in alta definizione tentato con Il mistero di Oberwald (1981)34.
In primo luogo, si lascia cogliere frequentemente una certa transitività tra il gruppo dei colori superficie e quello dei colori filmari: più che al valore scientifico della distinzione, Antonioni appare interessato ad elaborarne visivamente il potenziale poetico, lavorando sugli spazi di confine tra gli uni e gli altri. Nella sequenza dei titoli di testa, le diciannove inquadrature sul paesaggio tecnologico della fabbrica instaurano una tensione tra i due modi grazie all’uso del teleobiettivo e dello sfocato: lo sguardo della macchina da presa trasforma un campo percettivo di colori superficie (i tubi colorati della fabbrica), in una visione in transito verso dei colori filmari (una serie di macchie indistinte).
Qualcosa di simile investe, nel corso dell’intero film, l’incerta definizione del rapporto tra figura e sfondo, campi percettivi tendenzialmente prossimi, rispettivamente, ai colori superficie e ai colori filmari43. L’inversione tra figura e sfondo e la confusione dei diversi piani di profondità, spesso ricercata nella costruzione delle inquadrature, costituisce un ulteriore contributo a rendere ambiguo lo statuto cromatico delle immagini. Il film utilizza diverse tecniche per ottenere questo effetto: nella prima inquadratura della sequenza del negozio, ad esempio, lo spettatore si trova di fronte per qualche istante a una campitura cromatica indistinta priva di coordinate spaziali, che solo un successivo movimento di macchina rivela essere il muro scrostato di una casa. L’iniziale configurazione approssimabile a quella dei colori filmari, destabilizza la posizione dello spettatore: che cosa sto vedendo? A che cosa appartengono questi colori? Riesco davvero a vederli come dei colori superficie?
Se in tutti questi esempi la sfasatura è prodotta dall’interazione tra filmico e profilmico, in altri casi sono gli elementi stessi della messa in scena a rendere ambiguo lo statuto cromatico delle percezioni. Come è noto, Antonioni lavorò molto su questo aspetto, facendo pitturare tutto quanto doveva presentarsi davanti alla macchina da presa: talvolta questa rimodulazione delle tinte tende a rimarcare la forza e la presenza dei colori superficie negli ambienti policromi abitati dall’uomo, come la fabbrica o la casa. Negli esterni, invece, le modifiche cromatiche mettono in questione l’esistenza stessa dei colori superficie all’interno della natura, soprattutto nei paesaggi decolorati tendenti verso la dimensione informe dei colori filmari. Lo stesso statuto cromatico del mondo appare in corso di mutazione: con le sue esalazioni, la fabbrica sembra aver incenerito, ossidato e scolorito l’ambiente circostante. Una sorta di nuovo ritmo vitale che, sovrapponendosi ai ritmi organici, ridefinisce i canoni e gli equilibri della percezione.
A questa mutevolezza contribuisce nel film anche la presenza significativa dei colori volume. I paesaggi opachi e quasi monocromi che spesso si mostrano al di là di vetri e finestre restituiscono appieno la dimensione della trasparenza. In altri momenti, i colori volume insorgono nelle immagini con effetti di grande impatto visivo. Nella sequenza di dialogo tra il marito e Corrado all’esterno della fabbrica, una violenta fuoriuscita di vapori bianchi occupa rapidamente lo spazio dei colori superficie che prima avevano definito le coordinate percettive del luogo. Negli esterni della baracca per la pesca, è la foschia a dissolvere lo spazio del paesaggio, modificandone profondamente l’apparenza. Per contrasto, l’acqua dei canali circostanti sembra aver perso definitivamente ogni trasparenza, mutandosi in un colore superficie denso: “le acque sono nere o gialle e anzi – scriveva lo stesso Antonioni – non sono più acqua”44.
Questi esempi mostrano come nel film la percezione del colore si offra allo spettatore come esperienza fondata sull’instabilità e la mutevolezza: si tratta – scrive ancora Di Carlo – di un “colore in divenire”45. A concorrervi è anche un’ulteriore strategia messa in atto dal film: la sistematica frustrazione delle attese cromatiche. Non è soltanto la continua permeabilità tra i diversi modi di apparizione a mettere in movimento i colori, ma anche lo scarto tra quelli che vediamo sullo schermo e quelli che ci aspetteremmo di vedere.
In simili casi, il film attiva nello spettatore una particolare reazione cromatica cui lo stesso Katz si era riferito con il concetto di colori di memoria. Essi designano i colori con cui siamo abituati a vedere gli oggetti, in condizioni abituali di luce, e vengono richiamati alla memoria di fronte a un oggetto mostrato sotto un’illuminazione insolita, che ne modifica l’apparenza cromatica46. Nel film, i colori cui lo spettatore è posto di fronte sono spesso lontani da quelli attribuiti alle percezioni abituali, dunque richiamano l’attivazione dei colori di memoria. Relazioni nuove e sorprendenti si producono allora tra gli oggetti e i rispettivi colori: il caso forse più evidente è quello del carretto di frutta grigia al termine della sequenza del negozio47. La già citata pratica di rimodulare le tinte di ambienti, scenografie e oggetti supporta allora l’esigenza di mettere lo spettatore di fronte a una nuova esperienza cromatica, sollecitandolo a interrogare lo statuto profondo delle proprie percezioni. Se non rimandano alla mia percezione abituale, che natura hanno i colori che sto vedendo?
Un indizio a contrario dell’interesse di Antonioni per questo aspetto è offerto dalla sequenza mai girata del bosco bianco. Il rischio che lo scarto tra i colori del bosco ricolorato e i corrispondenti colori di memoria potesse non attivarsi potrebbe essere stata una delle cause che spinsero Antonioni a rinunciare alla sequenza: “primo dubbio: il bosco bianco darà il tipo di suggestione che mi aspetto? Secondo dubbio: non sembrerà neve?”48. Se lo spettatore avesse ricondotto la visione insolita di una pineta bianca a un più familiare paesaggio innevato, lo scarto percettivo avrebbe perso gran parte del suo valore.
L’effetto si produce con violenza ancora più inaspettata quando i colori cambiano consistenza e statuto all’interno di una stessa ambientazione. Nella celebre sequenza della camera d’albergo, i colori superficie vivacemente presenti sugli oggetti si tramutano improvvisamente, nel momento in cui – si legge nella sceneggiatura pubblicata – “è come se [Giuliana] volesse impedire ai propri occhi di vedere”49. Viene qui evidenziato un paradosso percettivo, poiché l’apparato visivo è per così dire condannato a vedere, anche quando gli occhi vengano chiusi o quando fuoriescano, ad esempio con l’allucinazione, dagli abituali schemi percettivi. I colori che si continuano a percepire in questi casi – secondo le teorie di Katz – hanno la tendenza ad apparire come colori filmari50.
Le macchie viola che, in due momenti, sembrano privare la stanza di una consistenza materiale, il rosa che alla fine della sequenza invade tutto lo spazio e i suoi oggetti, sembrano tradurre visivamente questa indicazione. I colori che vediamo sullo schermo sono allora i colori che Giuliana sta vedendo e al contempo vorrebbe non vedere? Una risposta univoca resta impossibile da dare. Nel primo caso, le inquadrature che veicolano i due momenti di visione delle macchie viola si configurano come delle semisoggettive: Giuliana vi è mostrata in primo piano di spalle, ma il collegamento con quanto precede e segue porta a pensare che, ragionevolmente, quei colori siano ascrivibili al suo campo percettivo. Le due inquadrature della stanza rosa, invece, non hanno alcun portato di soggettività: Giuliana viene mostrata distesa sul letto, con la testa affondata sul cuscino; quando si volta le sue palpebre si muovono leggermente ma restano chiuse. Se la presenza del rosa sembra rinviare alla dimensione interiore di un’apparizione filmare, all’idea di occhi chiusi che continuano a percepire colore, il punto di vista esterno e la forma che gli oggetti conservano rimandano d’altra parte a un campo di colori superficie. Le due possibilità coesistono all’interno della medesima immagine.
È sulla soglia incerta tra colori superficie e colori filmari, tra colori fenomenici e colori di memoria che si innesta, all’interno del film, il discorso sul carattere soggettivo del colore, che viene impostato su basi completamente nuove rispetto al cinema del passato. […]
Per Antonioni – è noto – i processi di modernizzazione avevano reso insano, malato, il modo di esperire i sentimenti54. Poiché questi stessi processi stavano modificando in profondità anche le forme di circolazione e gli usi sociali del colore, diveniva urgente, in questa prospettiva, interrogarsi sugli effetti psicologici e comportamentali prodotti da questi fenomeni sugli individui. Era la stessa psicologia a inverare un simile campo d’indagine: in un volume di Katz tradotto in Italia nel 1950 si poteva leggere, ad esempio, che “i colori hanno, più che le forme […] rapporto col sentimento”55. La possibilità di confrontarsi direttamente, utilizzando il medium cromatico, con il moderno mondo dei colori industriali e riprodotti consentiva ad Antonioni di elaborare visivamente i caratteri di questo possibile rapporto.
In questa ottica, la relazione che il film istituisce tra il colore e la sfera soggettiva può essere pensata alla stregua di una sorta di prova sperimentale: “Antonioni – scriveva ancora Di Carlo – ha “agito” nella definizione del carattere della protagonista come se essa si trovasse costantemente di fronte ad un test cromatico […]; metodo che gli ha facilitato l’indagine sulla sua personalità secondo le più avanzate tecniche seguite nella prassi psicologica e psichiatrica”56. Almeno due sequenze tematizzano esplicitamente contenuti tradizionali dei test sugli effetti del colore e dei loro possibili campi di applicazione pratica. La prima è quella del negozio di Giuliana: le diverse vernici stese su una parete a mo’ di prova dovrebbero servire a scegliere il colore più adatto a non disturbare gli oggetti da vendere, ma per la donna non sembra darsi una scelta giusta, razionale. La seconda sequenza è quella ambientata nello stanzino rosso, in cui fra futili conversazioni su uova gallate e grasso di coccodrillo si riversano ironicamente e sfacciatamente i saperi più ovvi delle pratiche di cromoterapia: il colore considerato più stimolante per i sensi, il rosso, sembra chiamato a misurare i diversi livelli di eccitabilità cromatica dei personaggi, che cedono uno dopo l’altro, Giuliana compresa, all’esposizione prolungata a questo colore.
Nel film, dunque, l’esperienza del colore si propone come un fenomeno plurale, intermittente, mobile, fluttuante, non sistematizzabile, dagli esiti incerti e non prevedibili. La permeabilità tra i diversi modi di apparire sembra voler liberare la percezione cromatica da ogni possibile forma di preordinamento cognitivo o affettivo. Attraverso le sue strategie formali, il film invita lo spettatore a uno sguardo divagante, curioso, distratto. Come aveva osservato Katz, “negli stati di “distrazione”, quando temporaneamente cessano di agire sulla coscienza i bisogni normalmente vigili, possono svolgersi certe azioni automatizzate, e – terminato lo stato di distrazione – ci troviamo sorpresi in una situazione nella quale siamo andati a finire senza averlo voluto”57. Questa particolare esperienza percettiva trova diritto di cittadinanza nel film e viene spesso ricondotta al richiamo esercitato dal colore. L’esempio più noto è quello del dialogo sulla Patagonia tra Corrado e gli operai, durante il quale la macchina da presa, assecondando lo sguardo distratto dell’ingegnere, si lascia attrarre da una linea blu dipinta sul muro58.
I colori di Il deserto rosso sono dei colori mutanti, in transito verso una nuova dimensione percettiva ed estetica. Lo stesso Antonioni dichiarò che il film non intendeva operare una denuncia politica o sociologica del mondo industrializzato e inquinato, quanto piuttosto rivelarne una nuova possibile forma di poesia e di bellezza59. Nel rimettere in causa lo statuto cinematografico del colore, nell’interrogarsi sui suoi possibili modi di apparizione, il film rimodulava pratiche del passato e le consegnava idealmente al cinema del futuro.
34 Sul colore in Antonioni si vedano almeno Campari 1985; Dalle Vacche 1996, pp. 43–80; Font 1999; Tinazzi 2001; Egner 2003; pp. 73–82; Di Carlo 2010.
43 Cfr. Katz 1935, p. 15; Id. 1950, p. 51; Id. 1960, pp. 136–143.
44 Antonioni 1964, p. 19.
45 Di Carlo 1964a, p. 32.
46 Cfr. Katz 1935, pp. 160–167. La teoria dei colori di memoria fu inizialmente formulata da Hering nel 1908, poi fu ripresa da Katz (cfr. Di Napoli 2006, pp. 206–210).
47 Ci si potrebbe chiedere se questo fenomeno non riguardi anche la percezione degli oggetti nei film in bianco e nero. In questo caso, però, il corrispondente colore di memoria non sarebbe tanto il colore originale dell’oggetto, quanto piuttosto il tono di grigio che precedenti film in bianco e nero mi portano a considerare abituale.
48 Antonioni 1964, p. 18.
49 Cfr. Di Carlo, a cura di, 1964b, p. 141.
50 Cfr. Katz 1935, p. 35.
54 Cfr. Antonioni 1994c. Su questo tema, cfr. anche Vitella 2010, pp. 159–173.
55 Katz 1950, p. 192.
56 Di Carlo 1964a, p. 33. Oltre a Katz, Di Carlo fa riferimento ai test dello psicologo svizzero Max Lüscher sulle preferenze cromatiche degli individui e sull’associazione tra queste ultime e le categorie della personalità.
57 Katz 1960, p. 136.
58 Per un’analisi della sequenza, cfr. Philippon 1995.
59 Cfr. Godard 1994, p. 255.
Achilli, Alberto; Boschi, Alberto; Casadio, Gianfranco, a cura di (1999), Le sonorità del visibile. Immagini, suoni e musica nel cinema di Michelangelo Antonioni, Longo, Ravenna.
Antonioni, Michelangelo (1964), Il bosco bianco, in Di Carlo, a cura di, 1964b, pp. 15–19. [Ora in Antonioni 1994b, pp. 80–84].
Antonioni, Michelangelo (1994b), Fare un film è per me vivere. Scritti sul cinema, a cura di Carlo Di Carlo e Giorgio Tinazzi, Marsilio, Venezia.
Antonioni, Michelangelo (1994c), La malattia dei sentimenti , in Id. 1994b, pp. 20–46.
Aumont, Jacques a cura di (1995a), La couleur en cinéma, Mazzotta-Cinémathèque française, Milano-Paris.
Campari, Roberto (1985), Da “Deserto rosso: il colore, in Tinazzi, a cura di, 1985, pp. 161–166.
Dalle Vacche, Angela (1996), Cinema and Painting. How Art Is Used in Film, Athlone, London.
Di Carlo, Carlo (1964a), Il colore dei sentimenti, in Id., a cura di, 1964b, pp. 25–35.
Di Carlo, Carlo a cura di (1964b), “Il deserto rosso” di Michelangelo Antonioni, Cappelli, Bologna.
Di Carlo, Carlo (2010), Las Montañas Encàntadas y la fascinación del color. Michelangelo Antonioni entre la pintura y el cine, in Di Carlo et al. 2010, pp. 9–17.
Di Carlo, Carlo et al. (2010), Michelangelo Antonioni y las montañas encantadas. La intuición del hielo, Maia, Madrid.
Di Napoli, Giuseppe (2006), Il colore dipinto. Teorie, percezione e Tecniche, Einaudi, Torino.
Egner, Silke (2003), Bilder der Farbe, Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften, Weimar.
Font, Doménec (1999), Macchie, corpi, fantasmi. Il colore nel cinema di Antonioni, in Achilli/Boschi/Casadio, a cura di, 1999, pp. 77–83.
Godard, Jean-Luc (1994), La notte, l’eclisse, l’aurora , in Antonioni 1994b, pp. 255–263.
Katz, David (1935), The World of Colour, Kegan Paul, London. [Der Aufbau der Farbwelt, Barth. Leipzig 1930; trad. ingl. di R.B. MacLeod e C.W. Fox].
Katz, David (1950), La psicologia della forma, Einaudi, Torino. [Gestaltpsychologie, Schwabe, Basel 1944; trad. it. di Enzo Ariani.
Katz, David (1960), Il mondo delle percezioni come oggetto della psicologia, in Id./Katz, Rosa, a cura di, I960, pp. 126–68.
Katz, David; Katz, Rosa, a cura di (1960), Trattato di psicologia, Boringhieri, Torino. [Handbuch der Psychologie, II ediz., Schwabe, Basel-Stuttgart 1960; trad. it. di B. Callieri].
Philippon. Alain (1995), Étude en bleu. Michelangelo Antonioni: “Le désert rouge“, in Aumont, a cura di, 1995a, pp. 149–150.
Tinazzi, Giorgio, a cura di (1985), Michelangelo Antonioni. Identificazione di un autore. Forma e racconto nel cinema di Antonioni, Pratiche, Parma.
Tinazzi, Giorgio (2001), Antonioni e il colore, in “Bianco e nero”, LXII, n. 6, novembre-dicembre 2001, pp. 105–109.
“But when I saw Colour Box, I saw something that I had not seen in film before. Instead of colour being used to reinforce the old old attempt to make me accept as film something theatrical, I saw colour doing something on its own. Making its way into my mind as colour. Not merely representation of something coloured.
This film is actually an advertising short. It is made by Len Lye (whom I therefore, at once asked to write) and its message is to acquaint the public with the cheaper rates for parcel-post. But apart from all this, it is an abstract film, and the occasional letterpress makes its effect, not as reading-matter, but as new shapes coming on to the screen. The shape and hue of the letters, and the speeds and angles at which they arrive, make you look at them. They follow rhythmically and so you have built up in your mind the message that it costs less to post parcels. You haven’t read this; your looking hasn’t been broken into by reading. The letters have simply followed each other, and through being in speed, shape and colour, part of the film, not interruptions, they have made an effect to which the film leads, and round which it revolves.
I have said this first, to make clear that the film does do what an advertising film should. But it does it because of the excellence of its design and colour. It is almost all colour – pure colour-design. Synchronised to a béguine, colours flow over the screen. Sometimes in waves, sometimes in dots, in stripes, squares, or spirals. The way they flow, and the colours that appear, seem determined by the music. Len Lye used no camera. He painted direct on to the celluloid film – rich blue, scarlet, green, lime-green, lemon-yellow, magenta, pink; flower-colours and ink-colours, Neon and sky colours. They whirl, perfectly patterned, come near, seem to deepen as the music becomes more urgent, complicate as the tunes interweave, and make one realise, finally, that one is seeing the first ballet in film.
Just as in ballet, the beauty of, say, a fouetté is made more perfect by the diagonal arabesque which we know will follow, so we feel as we watch these discs of colour that lines are needed to complete them – and the lines come. Lye’s use of vertical lines, is one of the most satisfying things I have recently seen on the screen – and they are always between, always dependent on, other brilliant manipulations of design. Colour Box is impossible to describe. I have done my best by suggesting colour-choreography, I will add dance-design; but impression means more than description, and this is the first abstract film of so good a pattern that one felt it was too short. It seems to me that it is on these lines that colour should be used. Such a use won’t become general, but it is perhaps interesting that an advertising film should show what colour means, and that the G.P.O., an official English body, should have sponsored so early a use of colour, in an abstract advertising film made without cameras.”
(Herring, Robert (1935): Technicolossal. In: Life and Letters Today, 13, Sep., pp. 194–196, on pp. 195–196.)