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Whitney and his associates, and as a result of many conferences, a contract was signed between Technicolor and Pioneer Pictures, Inc. There were some conditional clauses, among others a provision for extensive preliminary tests. Certain doubts remained in the minds of Whitney and his associates as to the performance of our three-component process under certain conditions. Would the process reproduce the various shades of green in woodland and jungle? For one story they were considering a lead with very dark coloring and black hair.
Would she photograph satisfactorily against light backgrounds? For another story they thought of placing a decided blonde in the leading part; how would she photograph against various backgrounds? What about make-up? What about the visibility of extremely small figures in the distance?
An exhaustive sets of tests were made with results satisfactory to Mr. Whitney and Mr.
Then began the hunt for the first story to be produced. At one time Whitney told me they had given consideration to no less than two hundred stories.
While Mr. Whitney was searching, Pioneer Pictures made a very practical and complete test of the process by producing the picture La Cucaracha. This short subject met with tremendous success. La Cucaracha , together with Silly Symphonies , caused a tremendous interest in three-component Technicolor.
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The industry was now waiting to see what the first Whitney feature production would be like. Meantime Technicolor business was improving. Positive film shipments for the first six months of were double what they were for the first six months of Appropriation was made to increase the number of cameras under construction from three to seven.
The first test of the three-component process on a very large set was for Twentieth Century Fox on the closing sequence of The House of Rothschild. Since Whoopee in Mr. Goldwyn and I had talked regularly each year about another picture in Technicolor, so that on one occasion Eddie Cantor asked me if I were coming for my annual ritual.
This time it was the closing sequence in his Cantor picture, Kid Millions , which was another important early three-component insert. No account of Technicolor adventures in the realm of producers would be complete without affectionate mention of Mr. Andrew J. He was a Vice-President of the company, active in sales and studio contacts through our most troublous times. Whitney and his Pioneer Pictures associates finally settled on Becky Sharp as their first production of the series of eight.
Becky was a champion for hard luck. The original director, Lowell Sherman, was taken ill and died during the period of photographing. He was succeeded by Rouben Mamoulian. Unusual difficulty was encountered in the sound recording so that Mr. Whitney found himself in the ironically anomalous position of having produced the first three-component Technicolor feature, of having surmounted all the hazards of color, yet being in difficulty with an aspect of the work which he had naturally taken for granted.
A very interesting and important adventure in the history of Technicolor development was the organization of a British affiliate, Technicolor, Ltd. The first Technicolor feature picture photographed in England was Wings of the Morning, a race-track story which has had very successful distribution throughout the world.
This production was produced before the London laboratory was built, and was serviced from Hollywood. In the British laboratory was built at West Drayton, just outside of London where it is now regularly operating to service British made productions and prints of American made productions for distribution in the United Kingdom. Alexander Korda has been outspoken in his enthusiasm for color, as evidenced by a series of pictures which he has produced, including the current release Drums.
He is now planning an all-Technicolor series of pictures, of which the first is The Four Feathers , at present being photographed in the Sudan.
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Since Becky Sharp there have been produced at Hollywood and in London a large number of important feature productions in Technicolor, including:. Generally speaking, these pictures have been extraordinarily well received, some of them having broken attendance records in many parts of the world. Thus Technicolor has met the second great rush into color with steadily improving quality of its product and a broadening range of service.
It is the purpose of Technicolor, during the time that prints of any picture are being manufactured in its plant, to hold the laboratory open for and at the disposal of the customer as if it were his own. His representative may inspect each of his prints and any changes suggested will be undertaken if practicable. To do this he simply moves into the inspection room where each print before shipment is compared by simultaneous projection with a standard print approved by the customer for the purpose.
William Wellman who has directed more three-component Technicolor pictures than any other individual, all of them successes, namely, A Star Is Born , Nothing Sacred , and Men With Wings , has said repeatedly of Technicolor photography that he takes it in his stride, at substantially the same number of setups per day as black and white. It is noteworthy that most of the camera work is now done by cameramen in the direct employ of the studios. Broadly considered, this recent array of feature pictures is of such a late date that it is too early to render a verdict based upon any sort of generalization with respect to them.
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Looking ahead, Technicolor has contracts for about forty feature-length productions spread among most of the outstanding producers, constituting a very substantial volume of business. Among these there are now either being photographed or in preparation the following:.
This expansion program is now well on its way to completion. I have thus passed over rapidly the matter of eighteen pictures to be produced in Technicolor during the last part of this year and the first six months of next year, although they will probably represent an investment of some fifteen million dollars.
The foreign situation is becoming increasingly difficult. Sales to Germany, Spain, Japan, and China have practically ceased, and in many other foreign countries they are below normal. The Italian Government controls the entire distribution of films in Italy, which probably means that everything possible will be done to distribute Italian-made pictures at the expense of English and American-made pictures.
To cope with the various regulations of censorship, the various languages requiring either superimposed titles or dubbing with new sound-track, has for years been difficult enough, but with the more recent quota laws, import duties, exchange difficulties, and especially in the face of the impossibility of getting money out of several foreign countries, to continue in the motion picture business there means adventures in other businesses, possibly including banking and politics.
The establishment of Technicolor laboratories at various points over the world is a practical necessity and despite all these difficulties definite progress is being made. About a year ago Technicolor established a department to contact exhibitors directly.
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Its representatives travel over the country to call upon exchange managers, theater managers, and projectionists. The purpose has been to study projection and screen conditions at the theater; to advise how to get the best results with Technicolor prints, to listen to complaints and establish good will, and particularly to obtain projectionist, manager, and audience reactions to productions in Technicolor. The results have been most gratifying; we have found that the public reaction to Technicolor pictures is extremely favorable and that exhibitors throughout the country are realizing more and more that Technicolor has great box-office value.
In the letter from Dr. Goldsmith, suggesting for himself and Mr. The type of film which will be standard for natural color pictures ten years hence may not yet have emerged. I predict that within two years Technicolor will have done away with special cameras and be regularly employing single strips of negative through any standard motion picture camera and that within two months for special purposes and within six months for more general purposes it will be offering to its customers a negative for use in its present cameras with from three to four times the speed of its present negative.
Kalmus, Herbert T. Herbert Kalmus and his associates enriched the language on that day in Boston when they invented the great name, honouring their alma mater the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in so doing. To-day a colour film is a Technicolor film, as far as the press is concerned, no matter what the process may be. This famous process owes more to engineers than to chemists, seeing that to work it successfully nothing new to photography had to be made, all its elements were ready to hand, nothing new had to be invented that was not mechanical, or that was more than refinement upon existing practice.
Its sponsors were faced with innumerable problems, some of great complexity, but in nearly every case precision engineering provided the answer.
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