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Thursday, 15 November 2012

Glorious Technicolor (1998) - Star of the month... Angela Lansbury

"You haven't seen color until you've seen Technicolor. It was like a painting" - Evelyn Keys

'In Glorious Technicolor' is a 1998 documentary narrated by the great Angela Lansbury. It tells the story of colour in film, focusing on the invention of Technicolor. The documentary also features interviews with actors Arlene Dahl, Evelyn Keyes, Esther Williams and Kim Hunter, and cinematographers John Alton, Jack Cardiff, Vittorio Storaro.

The documentary begins with an exploration into the art and science of colour, and how it corresponds in painting. We are then treated to some very early images of colour, including George Melis' 'La fée Carabosse ou le poignard fatal' (1906).

We are then provided some background on the forgotten pioneer and inventor of Technicolor Herbert T. Kalmus, where we see footage from early Technicolor films: 'The Toll of the Sea' (1922), 'The Black Pirate' (1926) and 'The Hollywood Revue of 1929' (1929). 
Something which I found interesting was that while most studios were opposed to colour, Walt Disney was supportive of it, and allowed 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' (1937) and 'Fantasia' (1940) to be filmed in colour.

The documentary concludes with a segment on the brilliant Technicolor British films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

Other dazzling Technicolor films excerpted into the documentary include 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' (1938), 'The Wizard of Oz' (1939), 'Gone With the Wind' (1939) and 'Singin in the Rain' (1952).

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