The Glories of Technicolor

         There are many major technical inventions throughout the history of cinema. Cinema is not today what it started out to be. Hollywood began with black and white silent movies. Now we are watching movies that are not only in color, have sound, but also they are full of computer graphics. One of the most important advances in film started with Technicolor. By the time Technicolor was invented silent movies were close to a memory. Technicolor was a way to film whole movies in color, when invented in Hollywood only had seven cameras that could use this type of film. Even though Technicolor is out of date now, it was the forefather of modern color images in film.

         Without such a technological invention such movies as Gone With the Wind, directed in 1939 by Victor Fleming, would not have had the impact that they would have had at the time they were filmed nor during this day and age. Even beyond Technicolor the use of color in films is HUGE. Without color the audience had to use their imagination and speculate on the colors of the film. Directors also had to be more clever in how they dressed the actors, painted the sets, and decided on certain lighting techniques to be used.

         With the use of color the directors, costume and set designers, even the actors were more free to express themselves. For instance, in Nosferatu the audience watch as Dracula sulks away from a black and white sunrise. Yet in Gone With the Wind, audiences watch a beautifully colorful sunset with Mr. O'Hara (Thomas Mitchell) and Scarlet (Vivien Leigh). Imagine how much more that killer sunset in Nosferatu , directed in 1922 by F. W. Murnau, would be if seen in blazing color.

         Color also helps the audience in making them believe in the reality of the characters. In the movie Bonnie and Clyde, directed in 1967 by Arthur Penn, we get to see a real image or idea of these infamous bandits, as played by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Before all of our ideas and images of them were in black and white. While it is actors playing their roles, it makes the characters, to be in color, more real to the audience.

         The invention of Technicolor was obviously one of the most important inventions to cinema. It made the fantasy world of cinema a realistic force.

Amy Hiett

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