The Dawn of Technicolor, 1915–1935 is the first detailed history of Technicolor’s formative years.
ROCHESTER, NY.- From 1915, the Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation and its revolutionary color processes transformed cinema forever. To celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of Technicolor’s incorporation, George Eastman House is curating a blockbuster exhibition, creating an online exhibition, and publishing a landmark book. In addition, an international retrospective of films from the museum’s collection has been jointly curated by Deutsche Kinemathek, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Austrian Film Museum, and will premiere at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival in February.
The exhibition In Glorious Technicolor, opening January 24, 2015, celebrates the vivid history of one of the most widely recognized names in the American film industry—a company whose revolutionary motion picture color process enabled such Hollywood masterpieces as The Wizard of Oz (1939), Gone With the Wind (1939), and Singin’ In the Rain (1952). Composed of stunning visual displays, this exhibition features original artifacts and projected video clips to explore Technicolor’s wide-ranging impact on the form and content of cinema, and draws heavily from the vast Technicolor Corporate Archive now held at George Eastman House.
“In Glorious Technicolor is the first major exhibition dedicated to Technicolor’s enduring legacy,” said Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator of Moving Image, George Eastman House. “George Eastman House is uniquely positioned to examine Technicolor’s history through our unparalleled collections of Technicolor films, equipment, and papers. We have created a truly multimedia exhibition showcasing all of the elements that make Technicolor so influential in the moving image industry.”
Highlights will include the company’s evolving camera technology, from its first handcrafted camera from 1916 to the massive Technirama widescreen system of the 1950s. Original costumes, production designs, posters, and photographs will document how color was used creatively and presented to the public, while the vibrant dyes used to create Technicolor’s incomparable “look” will shed light on the science behind the process. Rare tests from Douglas Fairbanks’s The Black Pirate (1926), behind-the-scenes stills from the Errol Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), and home movies from the set of The African Queen (1951) will reveal the stars and filmmakers most associated with color. Additionally, the exhibition will honor the achievements of Academy Award–winning cinematographers Ray Rennahan and Jack Cardiff, as well as Technicolor’s often overlooked engineers, whose work remained largely out of the limelight.
To complement In Glorious Technicolor, George Eastman House will present two works by British visual artist Aura Satz, whose oeuvre cuts across film, sound, performance, and sculpture. The installation, Eyelids Leaking Light, will feature the US premiere of Satz’s new work, Chromatic Aberration (2014), in which she explores the aesthetics of “color fringing” by using film elements from the Eastman House collection. Chromatic Aberration was commissioned by Tyneside Cinema with the participation of George Eastman House and will be exhibited alongside Doorway for Natalie Kalmus (2013), an audiovisual work that transforms a Bell & Howell color film printer into a grotto of prismatic lights. Eyelids Leaking Light will run concurrently with In Glorious Technicolor through April 26, 2015.
An online version of the exhibition will also be available, made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. To be launched in January 2015, the site will allow users to explore Technicolor’s rich history through original artifacts in the museum’s collections. It will also act as a portal for audiences to engage in other Technicolor centennial celebrations occurring throughout 2015 at the museum, including the film series, gallery exhibition, and book launch. The website will facilitate access to highlights from George Eastman House’s unparalleled equipment and documentation collections that have previously been accessible only to on-site researchers. Creative, corporate, and technological milestones in the company’s history will be illustrated with high-quality digital reproductions of historical artifacts, new animated graphics, and interviews with curators and experts. The multimedia website will be live on January 24, 2015, and can be found by visiting eastmanhouse.org/technicolor100.
George Eastman House’s collection of Technicolor films has inspired a film series dedicated to the various Technicolor processes to celebrate Technicolor’s impressive cinematic legacy. A selection of movie masterpieces for an international tour was put together jointly by Deutsche Kinemathek, the Austrian Film Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. The curated program is entitled, “Glorious Technicolor: From George Eastman House and Beyond” and many of the original prints and modern reprints will come from the extensive collection at George Eastman House. The complete series will debut in Germany at the Retrospective of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) in February 2015. It will include thirty Technicolor films from the United States and Great Britain. Additional information on the Berlin festival and the Retrospective section can be found at berlinale.de. Following its premiere at the Berlinale, the film series will be shown at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna, Austria.
The Dawn of Technicolor, 1915–1935 is the first detailed history of Technicolor’s formative years. The lavishly illustrated book draws on a wealth of previously untapped internal documentation, studio production files, and firsthand accounts. Written by James Layton and David Pierce and edited by Paolo Cherchi Usai and Catherine A. Surowiec, The Dawn of Technicolor includes the first comprehensive filmography of two-color Technicolor titles. The book will have its official launch during the 65th Berlin International Film Festival within the framework of the Retrospective “Glorious Technicolor.” The 448 page book is available now for pre-order ($65/$58.50 Eastman House members) and will ship by February 1, 2015. To purchase, visit eastmanhouse.org/dawnoftechnicolor. We invite you to follow and join the online conversations related to all of the Technicolor centennial events at #Technicolor100.
“The publishing of The Dawn of Technicolor was a true collaborative undertaking at George Eastman House,” said Bruce Barnes, Ron and Donna Fielding Director, George Eastman House. “I am beyond proud of the work that was put into it by its authors and editors and by our staff, and the final result is a remarkable work of scholarship that we are excited to share with the world.”