Even dedicated film fans may be surprised to learn that color has been an important element of filmmaking from the very beginning. Of particular fascination are the various attempts at adding color to motion pictures during cinema’s formative years, from hand-coloring in the 1890s to the “Glorious Technicolor” processes of the 1930s and beyond. Yet despite efforts to collect representative samples of different coloring techniques, widespread access to some of these films in their authentic colors has been hampered by unstable film stocks and poor-quality copies. Now, as part of a series of new 4K digital restorations, 17 early color films from the Department of Film’s collection are available again for study and appreciation.
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