Everything's Brighter in Technicolor

Everything's better in color, and this summer, Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is celebrating a century of film in Technicolor with a film exhibition called "Glorious Technicolor: From George Eastman House and Beyond". Through August 5, the museum will be showing American films made during Technicolor's heyday from 1922 to 1955. Included among the 60 full-length features and snippets are gems such as the silent film Red Hair (1928), Clara Bow's only movie in color, and The Pirate (1948), a swashbuckling musical comedy starring Judy Garland, Gene Kelly and Walter Slezak, with a score by Cole Porter. There's also 35 mm dye-transfer prints of The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and Singin' in the Rain. (To digital natives: a 35 mm dye-transfer print was Technicolor's multistep technique of creating color prints.) Many of the prints on display are loans from director Martin Scorsese's personal collection.

The Pirate. 1948. USA. Directed by Vincente Minnelli. Image courtesy Deutsche Kinemathek

Bring the kids for the last week of the exhibition, when MoMA will screen classic Technicolor cartoons, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, Fantasia, and Melody Time. All movies are shown in their original celluloid format and hail from the Eastman House Museum's massive Technicolor archive.

While a far cry from giving off a natural look, these super- pigmented moving pictures are a lasting testament to the deft work of filmmakers who created vibrant explosions of color, shadow and light for generations to enjoy.  

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. 1937. USA. Directed by David Hand, William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen. Image courtesy RKO Radio Pictures/Photofest.

Glorious Technicolor: From George Eastman House and Beyond
June 05, 2015-August 05, 2015
More information, including admission and film times, at Moma.org