From 1902: World’s earliest movie in color

Lately, I’ve been marveling at some of the silent films TCM has been showing from before 1910. But none of them impressed me as much as this:

The world’s first colour moving pictures dating from 1902 have been found by the National Media Museum in Bradford after lying forgotten in an old tin for 110 years.

The discovery is a breakthrough in cinema history.

Michael Harvey from the National Media Museum and Bryony Dixon from the British Film Institute talk about the importance of the discovery.

The previous earliest colour film, using the Kinemacolour process, was thought to date from 1909 and was actually an inferior method.

The newly-discovered films were made by pioneer Edward Raymond Turner from London who patented his colour process on 22 March 1899.

The story of Edwardian colour cinema then moved to Brighton. Turner shot the test films in 1902 but his pioneering work ended abruptly when he died suddenly of a heart attack.

Watch the video. It’s pretty cool. Some guy just invented it on his own, and shot home movies of his kids — but he couldn’t figure how to make it work with a projector. So they were never seen, until now (with computer help).

This Turner, I assume, is not to be confused with colorization pioneer Ted…

5 thoughts on “From 1902: World’s earliest movie in color

  1. bud

    Wow! It is amazing that a color movie was made in 1902. I thought mid-20s would be the very earliest. Guess I was wrong.

  2. Doug Ross

    1902: First color movie produced
    1902: First time the phrase “Oh, God, the Turners are showing their home movies of their dopey kids again!” was uttered

  3. Brad

    Very English, very mundane, very bourgeois, but also psychedelic. I guess it’s the explosion of out-of-register color coming off that sunflower on the left…

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