Eastman Kodak posted this item from the archives a couple of years ago, but I hadn’t discovered it till now. It’s a test of Kodachrome movie film, from 1922. Color movies, in near-perfect condition, made four years after the end of the First World War. Though it’s not the earliest color movie film in the world, it’s way older than most. (The first Technicolor feature, Becky Sharp, wasn’t released till 1935.)

There are four women in the film, plus one little girl. According to a post on Kodak’s site, two of the women are the silent-film stars Mae Murray and Hope Hampton, and you can tell: They occupy their time on camera with those coquettish flapper moves that silent-era actresses specialized in: the coyly twisted shoulder, the eye-roll and moue. It is very strange, though, to see those conventions in color. We have internalized the black-and-white-ness of that world, and it separates us from them—twenties figures in black-and-white seem to be from another planet. Add color into the equation, though, and the women look like people you’d see at a restaurant in my neighborhood—barely antique at all. Only the hats give them away, and even those are not so outlandish. (The soundtrack helps, too. Nice job, whoever added it.)

The person I can’t stop wondering about, though, is the little girl who’s on camera for just a few seconds. She’s perhaps 5 years old in the film, meaning that she was born around 1917, and may well have made it into the 2000s. She’d be 95 now. Could she possibly still be out there somewhere?

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3 Responses to The Color of 1922

  1. Katharine Myers says:

    So beautiful! Thanks for this.

    • Zeba says:

      is this from them is this from them first consumer crcmoaders the kodak model A in th early 20s or professional i did see much earlier exsamples in 1908 of colour moveing film so the 20s isnt that original its been done 20 years before that this should havve been dedicxated to those first consumer cameras the kodak model A and the kodak model B and maybe the model K wich are only a few hundredpounds tobuy and are colour can we have sme consumer 1920s/1930s amuter colour home made cllips thanks

  2. Salisu says:

    How repception of How repception of beauty has changed throughout the years Back then, women were very feminine, classy, with thin lips and wavy hair, broad hips and small stature. Today, they (men and ppl in the fashion/movie world) love skinny and tall women, with less curvy figure, more androginous, straightened hair and pouty Angelina lips Is it better, is it worse? I am honestly somewhere in the middle, not old-fashioned, not new -fashioned, but Anyways! LOVELY footage! Thank you for it!

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