1922 Kodak Colour Motion Picture Film Test



Mako, Makofoto, Vancouver, BC

That is cool. Thanks for posting it.

Jim "shedding a tear for Kodachrome" Feeley
Producer, journalist, first job was working in a darkroom
Near San Francisco USA

Would any of the film-stock history experts on here like to confirm/deny one of the YouTube poster's comments that it is actually two-strip Technicolor, rather than Kodachrome? [Claims Kodachrome didn't come along until the 1930s.]

Certainly has the red/green Technicolor look to me, but then again I wouldn't know what 1920s/30s Kodachrome looked like.

Clive Woodward
Perth, Western Australia.

>> actually two-strip Technicolor, rather than Kodachrome? [Claims Kodachrome didn't come along until >> the 1930s.]

I was wondering about that, too. But OTOH there's the Kodak logo in the frame. One wants to know the provenance of that clip. The exposure variations probably argue for bad dip and dunk hand developing; if they were shot with that much exposure bounce, subject motion should be all over the place. If it's in-camera, that's surprisingly sloppy for 1922. And if it were two strip and the variation was in the lab, the colour would be shifting dramatically with exposure, right? Could it have been a very early two-layer version modelled on Technicolor, but monopack?

Excerpted from Wikipedia:

"Kodachrome was invented in the early 1930s by two professional musicians, Leopold Godowsky, Jr. and Leopold Mannes,[9] hence the comment that "Kodachrome was made by God and Man".[10][11] It was first sold in 1935 as 16 mm movie film....

Kodachrome processing has undergone four significant alterations since its inception.[25] The current process is designated Process K-14. The process is complex and exacting, requiring technicians with extensive chemistry training, as well as large, difficult-to-operate machinery. This effectively precludes amateurs or small laboratories from processing Kodachrome."

"Early 1930's" seems rather anecdotal to me. Developing a product like that
is a serious, multi-year-eating venture.

This excerpt may be relevant to the person who was asking about processing:

"Films sent for processing in the U.S. are mailed directly to Dwayne's, while those sent for processing in Europe are sent to the Lausanne facility's address, whence they are forwarded to Dwayne's."


"In 1916 the pair started experimenting with the complex, awkward methods of producing colour images by taking multiple black-and-white exposures through filters of various colours. For 14 years they worked in their families' kitchens and bathrooms, often in total darkness and measured the developing times of film by whistling the last movement of Brahms' 1st Symphony at a metronomic pace of two beats per second."

Tim Sassoon
Santa Monica, CA

From what I understood this is a test shot during the research that preceded production. If I got it right.....

Argyris Theos
Athens Greece
+30 6944725315

From the link to the official Kodak blog post in the YouTube video's description :

"In these newly preserved tests, made in 1922 at the Paragon Studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey, actress Mae Murray appears almost translucent, her flesh a pale white that is reminiscent of perfectly sculpted marble, enhanced with touches of colour to her lips, eyes, and hair. She is joined by actress Hope Hampton modeling costumes from The Light in the Dark (1922), which contained the first commercial use of Two-Color Kodachrome in a feature film. Ziegfeld Follies actress Mary Eaton and an unidentified woman and child also appear."

"The Two-Color Kodachrome Process was an attempt to bring natural lifelike colours to the screen through the photochemical method in a subtractive colour system. First tests on the Two-Color Kodachrome Process were begun in late 1914. Shot with a dual-lens camera, the process recorded filtered images on black/white negative stock, then made black/white separation positives. The final prints were actually produced by bleaching and tanning a double-coated duplicate negative (made from the positive separations), then dyeing the emulsion green/blue on one side and red on the other. Combined they created a rather ethereal palette of hues." Of Note: This footage is from the George Eastman House collections. http://1000words.kodak.com/post/?ID=2982503

Kodak has been a pioneer in the art of brand names, from the beginning, with it's made up name. The company would come up with names before they had uses for them, and trademark them, and sometimes use them and reuse them for different products. Kodachrome and Kodacolor are just two examples of names that have been used for completely different processes.

"The two-colour subtractive colour process developed by Kodak scientist John Capstaff was commercially introduced in 1915 under the brand name Kodachrome. Two negatives exposed through red and green filters respectively. When developed as gelation reliefs, dyed in complementary colours, bound in register, and viewed as transparencies, the resulting Kodachrome film pictures were often capable of excellent colour rendition." -- Photo Caption - Pg 119, The Story of Kodak; Douglas Collins.
"In 1926 Kodak scientist John Capstaff was sent to Hollywood to make test shots (above and right) using the two-colour Kodachrome film movie process he had first developed in 1916. Twentieth Century-Fox was interested in the colour process, which it named "Nature Color", and a few films including the 1930 London Revue were made in two-colour Kodachrome." Photo Caption Pg 170, The Story of Kodak, Douglas Collins.

"On April 15, 1935, the new product, borrowing the name "Kodachrome" from the earlier Capstaff colour process, was formally announced. " Ibid, pg 213.

So this is a different process from what we now know as Kodachrome, which was also being painstakingly developed by Mannes and Godowsky during the 20s, before they actually worked for Kodak under contract in the early thirties, which is a whole fascinating story in and of itself.

Steven Bradford
Seattle Washington

© copyright CML all rights reserved