More PreWar Colour Film from Britain – But Twenties, or Thirties?

An English summer sky after 1914 - but before Hitler

Here’s another surviving piece of pre-War colour film, one of precious few to come down to us that feature the old country. From the look of it, I’d say it was a well-preserved example of the Dufaycolor process (some remaining Dufaycolor has darkened very badly indeed). But Dufaycolor didn’t come onto the general market until 1932. What few clues this film contains as to its likely date point, tantalizingly, to the 1920s.

It’s not, I don’t think, a Friese-Greene out-take: there aren’t any of those that I’ve heard of. What it could be is an example of an experimental use of the Dufaycolor process, which existed in principle from Edwardian days. The cameraman’s obsession with brightly coloured objects, so typical of pioneering colour work (early monochrome film obsessed, in turn, with movement, and so football/trains/crowds, but here we have flowerbeds and pretty girls etc).

Cast your expert eye, anyway, and let me know what you think in the comments.

5 Replies to “More PreWar Colour Film from Britain – But Twenties, or Thirties?”

  1. Late 1930s, I think… at 6’48” there is a poster of ‘Zoo The National Nature Magazine’ which this site seems to think began in June 1936. The concrete ‘Mappin Terrace’ at the Zoo isn’t a clue – despite its modernistic appearance it is from 1914. Another piece of supporting evidence for late 1930s is at 8’34” with the round flower clock with ‘G E’ on it, suggesting George VI and Elizabeth, which makes summer 1937 the earliest date for this bit.

  2. “Zoo” clinches it, surely! Excellent, thank you. Almost certainly 1937 given the complete absence of visible war preparations and the presence of the clock. I hadn’t thought of GE = George + Elizabeth, but a clock for George V in 1935 would have been GR I think…

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