Monday, July 23, 2012

100 Early Colour Films (1935-1949)


Left-click to enlarge

Top: Bambi, The Bluebird, The Boy with Green Hair, Dumbo
2nd row: The Garden of Allah, On the Town, Fantasia, The Wizard of Oz
3rd row: The Jungle Book, Pinocchio, Becky Sharp, The Adventures of Robin Hood
Bottom: Leave Her To Heaven, Three Godfathers, The Yearling, Blithe Spirit


The history of the development of colour film is quite complicated. There have been ‘colour’ films in some form since the dawn of cinema in 1895, and in researching this subject I found various different claims for what is the ‘first colour film’, depending on how the authors chose to define it. But this list is designed to be a guide to the most beautiful early colour films rather than a treatise on technical matters so I’ve begun with Becky Sharp (1935), the first feature film in full three-colour Technicolour, and listed all of the major colour films I could find from the next 15 years. Nearly all are from the US or UK and I’m probably missing films from other countries - surely France, Italy, Japan etc had a few colour films in the 1940’s?- but information on this subject seemed extremely hard to come by.

I haven’t included films with just a sequence or two in colour like The Women (1939) The Picture Of Dorian Gray (1944) or The Secret Garden (1949) but I have included films such as The Wizard of Oz and A Matter of Life and Death, which are a mix of colour and black and white, if at least half the movie is in colour.

All films are from the USA unless otherwise stated.

1935
  1. Becky Sharp (Rouben Mamoulian)
1936
  1. Dancing Pirate (Lloyd Corrigan)
  2. The Garden of Allah (Richard Boleslawski)
  3. The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine (Henry Hathaway)
1937
  1. A Star is Born (William Wellman)
  2. Nothing Sacred (William Wellman)
  3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (David Hand)
  4. Wings of the Morning (Harold D. Schuster) (UK) The first three-strip technicolor movie shot in Europe.
1938
  1. Kentucky (David Butler)
  2. Sweethearts (W.S.Van Dyke II)
  3. The Adventures Of Robin Hood (Michael Curtiz)
  4. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Norman Taurog)
  5. The Divorce of Lady X (Tim Whelan) (UK)
  6. The Drum (Zoltan Korda) (UK)
  7. The Goldwyn Follies (George Marshall)
1939
  1. Dodge City (Michael Curtiz)
  2. Drums Along the Mohawk (John Ford)
  3. Gone With The Wind (Victor Fleming)
  4. Gulliver’s Travels (Dave Fleischer)
  5. Hollywood Cavalcade (Irving Cummings)
  6. Jesse James (Henry King)
  7. The Four Feathers (Zoltan Korda) (UK)
  8. The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Michael Curtiz)
  9. The Wizard Of Oz (Victor Fleming)
1940
  1. Bitter Sweet (W. S. Van Dyke)
  2. Fantasia (Ben Sharpsteen)
  3. Northwest Mounted Police (Cecil B. DeMille)
  4. Northwest Passage (King Vidor)
  5. Pinocchio (Ben Sharpsteen, Hamilton Luske)
  6. The Blue Bird (Walter Lang)
  7. The Return of Frank James (Fritz Lang)
  8. The Thief of Baghdad (Ludwig Berger, Tim Whelan, Michael Powell) (UK)
1941
  1. Billy the Kid (David Miller)
  2. Blood And Sand (Rouben Mamoulian)
  3. Dumbo (Ben Sharpsteen)
  4. Smilin' Through (Frank Borzage)
  5. Western Union (Fritz Lang)
1942
  1. Arabian Nights (John Rawlins)
  2. Bambi (David Hand et al)
  3. Reap the Wild Wind (Cecil B. DeMille)
  4. The Black Swan (Henry King)
  5. The Jungle Book (Zoltan Korda)
1943
  1. Baron Munchausen (Josef Von Baky) (Germany)
  2. For Whom the Bell Tolls (Sam Wood)
  3. Heaven Can Wait (Ernst Lubitsch)
  4. Kismet (William Dieterle)
  5. Phantom of the Opera (Arthur Lubin)
  6. The Gang's All Here (Busby Berkeley)
  7. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger) (UK)
  8. Victory Through Air Power (James Algar et al)
1944
  1. An American Romance (King Vidor)
  2. Cover Girl (Charles Vidor)
  3. Kismet (William Dietrele)
  4. Lady In The Dark (Mitchell Leisen)
  5. Meet Me in St Louis (Vincente Minnelli)
  6. Pin Up Girl (H. Bruce Humberstone)
  7. The Princess and the Pirate (David Butler)
  8. This Happy Breed (David Lean) (UK)
1945
  1. Anchors Aweigh (George Sidney)
  2. A Song to Remember (Charles Vidor)
  3. Blithe Spirit (David Lean) (UK)
  4. Caesar and Cleopatra (Gabriel Pascal) (UK)
  5. Henry V (Laurence Olivier) (UK)
  6. Leave Her To Heaven (John M.Stahl)
  7. The Spanish Main (Frank Borzage)
  8. The Three Caballeros (Norman Ferguson)
  9. Yolanda And The Thief (Vincente Minnelli)
1946
  1. A Matter Of Life And Death (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)(UK)
  2. Duel in the Sun (King Vidor)
  3. Night and Day (Michael Curtiz)
  4. The Kid From Brooklyn (Norman Z. McLeod)
  5. The Stone Flower (Aleksandr Ptushko) (USSR) first Soviet film in colour
  6. The Yearling (Clarence Brown)
  7. Ziegfeld Follies (Vincente Minnelli)
1947
  1. An Ideal Husband (Alexander Korda) (UK)
  2. Black Narcissus (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger) (UK)
  3. Life with Father (Michael Curtiz)
  4. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Norman Z. McLeod)
1948
  1. Adventures of Don Juan (Vincent Sherman)
  2. Easter Parade (Charles Walters)
  3. Joan of Arc (Victor Fleming)
  4. Rope (Alfred Hitchcock)
  5. She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (John Ford)
  6. Summer Holiday (Rouben Mamoulian)
  7. The Emperor Waltz (Billy Wilder)
  8. That Lady in Ermine (Ernst Lubitsch)
  9. The Boy with the Green Hair (Joseph Losey)
  10. The Paleface (Norman Z. McLeod)
  11. The Pirate (Vincente Minnelli)
  12. The Red Shoes (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger) (UK)
1949
  1. In the Good Old Summertime  (Robert Z. Leonard)
  2. On the Town (Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen)
  3. Samson and Delilah (Cecil B.DeMille)
  4. Take Me Out to the Ball Game (Busby Berkeley)
  5. That Forsyte Woman (Compton Bennett)
  6. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (James Algar et al)
  7. The Barkelys Of Broadway (Charles Walters)
  8. The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend (Preston Sturges)
  9. The Red Pony (Lewis Milestone)
  10. Three Godfathers (John Ford)

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