What Was The First Movie In Color?


Not that many teens or kids like very old movies. Some adults might not like them either. Think about it, what don't you like about old movies, is it poor audio quality compared to today's? Is it the extended periods of time that they show the same angle? Maybe it's because most of them are black and white. 

Black and white movies started when movies started. What's the oldest movie that you've seen? Was it Citizen Kane (1941), To Kill A Mocking Bird (1962)? Psycho (1960)? Chances are, it's probably The Wizard Of Oz all the way back in 1939. Now, you may or may not be thinking, "How is The Wizard Of Oz in color when it's one of the oldest movies I've seen?" That's a good question, how is it?

If anyone ever told you, "The Wizard Of Oz probably was black and white and then remastered later." They were right and wrong. There was a black and white version in 1925 with the same name, but that's not this one. This one did come out in 1939.

Another movie came out that same year called Gone With The Wind that was based off of the popular novel of the same name. Fun fact about this movie is that the box office was adjusted for inflation to today's money and it got around $3.44 billion. Yeah, you thought Avatar (2009) was Avengers: Endgame's competition? Nope, it should've been Gone With The Wind.

Anyway, The Wizard Of Oz came out in theaters August 10, 1939 and Gone With The Wind came out December 15, 1939. There, The Wizard Of Oz came out before Gone With The Wind. You can compare which movie is better if you want to, but Gone With The Wind  has a run time of 3 hours and 58 minutes. No thanks.

So what was The Wizard Of Oz  filmed with? Well, a camera, but a special camera. This camera was called the Technicolor DF-24 Beam Splitter. This makes this movie in Technicolor, and if you ever stayed to watch the credits, maybe for Marvel movies, you would see that the movie was made possible by Technicolor.

But wait! Was this actually the first colored movie ever? If they had such a fancy camera, did they evolve it off of something else? Good thing you asked such a convenient and relevant question because they did. Believe it or not, which you probably will, there was a movie that was colored even before The Wizard Of Oz. Back in 1918, there was a movie titled 

Cupid Angling, chances are that you've never heard of it. This was the very first movie to use what's called the Douglass Natural Color process. This is a process where there were three rolls of film. The first would be colored in all red, the other all green, and the third would be black and white. All three of them would merge together in a splitter camera to combine all three rolls to make a colored picture. 

Some modern movies choose to be in black and white, such as Schindler's List (1994) and Raging Bull (1980). The directors have their reasons for making the movies black and white, but thinking that is a better idea than color, we will never know why.

Published Dec. 2, 2019

Est. Nov. 9, 2019