Will the first color feature film be forgotten?

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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ebaillargeon82

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Will the first color feature film be forgotten?

PostTue May 08, 2018 2:56 pm

The Jazz Singer, the first feature film with all sounds including dialogue and music, will always be remembered as the talkie pioneer. Singin’ in the Rain (a story about the transition from silent films to talkie films) was a movie about the aftermath of The Jazz Singers pioneering of sound. A movie about the transition from black and white films to color films would probably be about the aftermath of The Cat and the Fiddles pioneering of color, since it was the first feature film to have full spectrum (red, green, and blue) color. For some unknown reason, a movie like that is yet to be made (to my knowledge). Will The Cat and the Fiddle ever be acknowledged for its pioneering of color like The Jazz Singer is for its pioneering of sound?
Last edited by ebaillargeon82 on Tue May 08, 2018 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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ajabrams

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Re: Will the first color feature film be forgotten?

PostTue May 08, 2018 4:30 pm

It may have been the first feature-length film to use full spectrum Technicolor but it was only used in the last scene--BECKY SHARP was the first feature to use it for the entire film. I suppose someone might be inspired to make a film about the transition of color in movies but I don't think it's as dramatic a change as it was from silent films to sound. I don't think people rushed the box office to see Cat and the Fiddle (or Becky Sharp for that matter) the way they did for The Jazz Singer. Color in film had been around before this -- the new 3 strip Technicolor was a refinement of something that was already pretty well-established.
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Brianruns10

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Re: Will the first color feature film be forgotten?

PostTue May 08, 2018 6:40 pm

The key difference between The Jazz Singer and the various candidates for first color feature is that the Jazz Singer had more to it than just a few talking sequences. It had some great songs, an iconic story and a starmaking performance, all of which justified its production and use of sound. It was a quality film that didn't just use sound for gimmickry; it served the story.

In fact, your question contains its own answer in a way. You mention Jazz Singer, but it wasn't the first all talkie. That is "The Lights of New York.' How many remember that film, outside of us diehards? It's a technological landmark, but few today would defend it. It's creaky and clunky and there's not a single actor in it that stood out.

The problem with color is it had more technical hurdles to overcome, and took a good deal longer to perfect, so that there isn't really a clear candidate for "the first." Is it one of the early Kinemacolor films? Or The Gulf Between? Or On With the Show? Or Becky Sharp? Many of those early films are lost. Or only survive as black and white copies. Becky Sharp divides critics.

It took a good long while for color to be adopted to any degree, and longer for it to be used with art in a way that served the story. For my money, I'd pick "The Black Pirate' as the first TRUE color film, in that color was not a gimmick but was employed creatively and in service of an excellent story starring an icon of the screen. THAT film will be remembered.
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fanddlover17

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Re: Will the first color feature film be forgotten?

PostThu May 10, 2018 6:51 pm

ebaillargeon82 wrote:The Jazz Singer, the first feature film with all sounds including dialogue and music, will always be remembered as the talkie pioneer. Singin’ in the Rain (a story about the transition from silent films to talkie films) was a movie about the aftermath of The Jazz Singers pioneering of sound. A movie about the transition from black and white films to color films would probably be about the aftermath of The Cat and the Fiddles pioneering of color, since it was the first feature film to have full spectrum (red, green, and blue) color. For some unknown reason, a movie like that is yet to be made (to my knowledge). Will The Cat and the Fiddle ever be acknowledged for its pioneering of color like The Jazz Singer is for its pioneering of sound?


If you looked at documentation from Technicolor, you would see that the company points to the December 1933 utilization of the three-strip process in the finale from “The House of Rothschild” as the pivotal moment in the film industrys transition to color. A certain number of people think believe “The Wizard of Oz” was the first color film, and this is probably due to the fact that the film switches from black-and-white when Dorothy is in Kansas to color when she is in Oz.

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