British Colour Cinema Practices and Theories

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-06-12
  • Publisher: British Film Institute

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  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
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British Color Cinema Companion is one of the outcomes of a major project on color and British cinema. This project was one of the last opportunities to gain an insight from surviving practitioners who worked with film color in one of the most fascinating periods of its history, when black-and-white film was cheaper and more all-pervasive. Created as a companion volume to a major history of color in British Cinema (Color Films in Britain: A History, also by Sarah Street), British Color Cinema Companion is a richly illustrated book based on a series of unique interviews conducted by Sarah Street and Elizabeth I Watkins with practitioners who worked in the UK with Technicolor and/or Eastmancolor during the 1930s-1950s. The book charts a highly significant period of film history, at a time when working with color frequently involved experimentation of the highest degree. Working with color was expensive and difficult, not least because of having to negotiate with the Technicolor Corporation, and adjusting to new systems also required ingenuity and resourcefulness. All of the practitioners featured in the book provide a rich resource of experience and reflection on these challenges. Street and Watkins talk to figures who were renowned for their innovative work with film color - and who provide first-hand accounts of working with major directors including Michael Powell and John Huston, and also with celebrated art directors and special effects teams. Many of the films discussed by interviewees have acquired special interest in recent years with the advent of DVD and the restoration of many color film classics. In recognition of this development, the book's final section also features interviews people involved in film preservation and restoration, and asks ethical questions of how best to prepare new prints for today's audiences. As well as covering film production, post-production and preservation and restoration, this final section features selected contributions from theorists, historians and academics who work with color from a range of different perspectives.

Author Biography

SARAH STREET is a professor of Film at the University of Bristol, UK. She has published extensively including Cinema and State: The Film Industry and the British Government (co-authored with Margaret Dickinson, 1985); British National Cinema (1997; 2nd edition 2009); Costume and Cinema (2001); British Cinema in Documents (2000); European Cinema (co-edited with Jill Forbes, 2000); Moving Performance: British Stage and Screen (co-edited with Linda Fitzsimmons, 2000); Transatlantic Crossings: British Feature Films in the USA (Continuum, 2002); The Titanic in Myth and Memory (co-edited with Tim Bergfelder, 2004); Black Narcissus (2005) and Queer Screen: The Queer Reader (co-edited with Jackie Stacey, 2007). Film Architecture and the Transnational Imagination: Set Design in 1930s European Cinema was co-authored with Tim Bergfelder and Sue Harris (2007), and was the result of a collaborative Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)- funded project. She is also author of Colour Films in Britain: The Negotiation of Innovation, 1900-55 (2012) and is a co-editor, with Simon Brown and Liz Watkins, of Color and the Moving Image: History, Asethetics, Archive (2012), publications which, in addition to this volume, resulted from a research project funded by the AHRC. Sarah Street is co-editor of two key journals in the field, Screen and the Journal of British Cinema and Television.

LIZ WATKINS is a lecturer at the University of Leeds, UK. Her research interests include the significance of colour for film theories of subjectivity, perception and sexual difference. Her research also engages with gesture as an insidious force of discontent in the interactions of body and language. She has published on feminism, film/philosophy, and colour in Parallax, Paragraph and the British Journal of Cinema and Television. Liz's research also includes a focus on the materiality of film and archive. She has contributed a case study of the BFI National Film Archive's 2010 colour restoration of The Great White Silence (Herbert G. Ponting, 1924) to a collection of essays Colour and the Moving Image: History, Aesthetics, Archive, which she has co-edited with Simon Brown and Sarah Street for Routledge.

SIMON BROWN is director of Studies for Film and Television and New Broadcasting Media at Kingston University, UK. Before joining Kingston, he worked for ten years in the BFI National Film and Television Archive, and so has a background in both archiving and academia. His main areas of research are early and silent cinema, British cinema, contemporary American television and colour. His recent work on colour includes 'Colouring the Nation: Spectacle, Reality and British Natural Colour in the Silent and Early Sound Era' (Film History 21:2, Indiana University Press, August 2009), and the chapter 'The Brighton School and the Quest for Natural Color – Redux' in the collection Colour and the Moving Image: History, Aesthetics, Archive for Routledge, which he co-edited with Sarah Street and Liz Watkins. Outside of colour he is currently editing and writing a piece for a special issue of the Journal of Science Fiction Film and Television commemorating the 20th anniversary of the first transmission of The X-Files in the USA, and is also writing an article on 3DTV for Critical Studies in Television.

Table of Contents

About the Authors.
Interview: Chris Challis
Interview: Pat Jackson
Document: Jack Cardiff, 'Shooting Western Approaches', The Cine-Technician, Nov-Dec 1944
Interview: Ossie Morris
Interviews: Guy Green, Erwin Hillier, Douglas Slocombe, Paul Beeson, Stan Sayer
Document: Ronald Neame, 'A Talk on Technicolor', The Cine-Technician, May-June 1944
Interview: Syd Wilson
Interview: Dave Davis
Interview: Bernard Happé
Interview: Frank Littlejohn
Interview: Les Ostinelli
Interview: Paul De Burgh
Document: 'Preservation of Films', Kinematograph Weekly, 13 March 1952
Interview: Jaoa de Olivera
Interview: Keiron Webb
Interview: Sonia Genaitay
Document: Robert M. Fanstone, 'Experiences with Dufaycolor Film', British Journal of Photography, 7 June 1935
Document: 'Gasparcolor Explained to the R.P.S.', Kinematograph Weekly 31 January 1935
Interview: Paolo Cherchi Usai
Interview: Ulrich Rüdel and Daniela Currò
Interview: Giovanna Fossati
Document: Adrian Cornwell-Clyne, 'The Future of the Colour Film' in Colour Cinematography (London: Chapman Hall, 1951)
Document: E.S. Tompkins, 'In Defence of 'Glorious' Colour', British Journal of Photography, 3 Mar 1944,
Document: Paul Nash, 'The Colour Film' in Charles Davy (ed.), Footnotes to the Film (London: Lovat Dickson Ltd, Readers' Union Ltd, 1938)

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