A Kinemacolor actress writes about colors in moving pictures
by Linda A Griffith
It is little more than two years since the Kinemacolor pictures were first shown to the American public. These pictures, as we all know, were of the coronation of King George of England and the Durbar festivities in India.
How often in the days before this wonderful discovery I had said to myself: “Oh, if the colors would only show in the picture.” But I never dreamed how soon my wishes would come true.
I don’t suppose it is very generally known that a moving picture actor is ever afflicted with stage fright, not camera fright, for when, working we never think of the camera. But when we are gathered together in our own little theater, that is, in the projecting room where pictures are first shown to the acting company, the lights turned out, and the pictures to be seen for the first time, then it is we sometimes have cold chills and nervous twitches. We know that what is locked up in the little box of film is there to stay for keeps, and we have no way of improving our second performance.
One day last summer, I was to see myself in Kinemacolor for the first time. With added fear and trembling I approached the ordeal. The picture was thrown on the screen, and there was the exact shade of hair and eyes, the true flesh tints it was almost spooky, even a little string of pink beads about my neck, why, there they were just as pink as could be!
Now, along with the day’s work, there is added the study of color schemes. We must consult each other as to the color of this or that particular hat or gown to be worn, for those working in tne same scenes must never let colors clash. We must even consider the wallpaper and furniture and tapestries that make up the stage setting.
The days when a man could combine brown shoes with full evening dress and appear correctly dressed on the screen are no more.
The points that can be made in a story with the help of color are many: A man is wounded. We have a torn sleeve, there is red blood on his arms, not a black smudge. You can even write a farce around colon The Kinemacolor company has produced one such, called “The Lady in the Red Coat.” In bright, joyful scenes, gay color in a costume cannot fail to accentuate the joyousness.
Equally, there must be no jarring note of color in a deathbed scene. Scenes whose thoughts are in a minor key can be wonderfully strengthened by the right suggestion of color.
Examples of Kinemacolor film scenes from 1913
From Catalogue of Kinemacolor film subjects: animated scenes in their actual colors, by Natural Color Kinematograph Co., Ltd
Children forming the US Flag in Albany, New York
Aquarium & Carisbrooke castle
Scene from Oedipus Rex & boats on the river at Henley
Pompeii & the launch of the SS Olympic
Niagara Falls & Queen Victoria Memorial Cemetery
Tiger lily flower & North Wales