Early coloured films from EYE's collection

We normally think of early film as being black and white, but the first color cinematography appeared as early as the first decade of the twentieth century.

You can watch several beautiful coloured films from the early days of cinema here.

Les Tulipes (Het Tovertoneel)

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France, Pathé Frères, 1907, Segundo de Chomón.
Hand-colored, stencilled.

The nitrate print received by EYE in 1999 is incomplete (91 meters of the original 115 meters), but the colors are still very radiant.

Note that despite the general acknowledgement, the identification of this film has recently been disputed by some scholars. It has been screened at Cinema Ritrovato 2015 under the title El Iris Fantastico (1912).

 

Dutch Types (Coiffes Hollandaises)

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France, Gaumont, 1915 [?], director unknown.
Stencilled.

This fragment showing Dutch children in folkloric dresses was found in France, at Lobster Films and repatriated to the Netherlands in 2010. The print has English intertitles; the main title Dutch Types is the title on the print.
 

De Molens die juichen en weenen (Mills in Joy and Sorrow)

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Netherlands, Hollandsche Film, 1912, Alfred Machin.
Stencilled, tinted, toned.

Shot in Volendam on location in 1911, the nitrate print of this film was found in Germany and repatriated to the Netherlands in 1990.

 

Les Parisiennes

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United States, American Mutoscope Company, 1897, director unknown.
Hand-colored.

EYE’s original vintage print is on 68mm. That print was preserved in 1995, onto 35mm color negative and in 1997 onto color stock.

 

Danse des Ouled-Naïls; Danse du ventre; Danses Algeriennes

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France, production company unknown, 1902, director unknown.
Hand-colored.

The footage in EYE shows three different dances, ending with a Scottish dance. Although it looks like non-fiction, it is possible that this film was made in Europe to illustrate different folkloric dances. Some sources attribute this film to Segundo de Chomón.

 

Les Six soeurs Dainef

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France, Pathé Frères, 1902, director unknown
Hand-colored.

The print in the archive has intertitles in French, German and English.

 

  • Dutch Types (Coiffes Hollandaises) (FR, 1915 [?])

  • Les Parisiennes (US, 1897)

  • Les Tulipes (Het Tovertoneel) (FR, 1907)

fantasia of color in early cinema

In 2015, the book Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema, a glorious anthology of coloring in the early film, was published on the basis of a wide range of EYE collection. This playlist contains films that are used in the production of the book. Although all the images in the book are taken from the archival holdings of EYE, due to copyright and/or technical reasons not all the 62 films can be published here.

EYE has put some of the films featured in the book online. Titles will regularly be added to the playlist.

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