Claude Friese-Greene (3 May 1898 in Fulham, London – 1943 in Islington, London) is a British-born cinema technician, filmmaker, and cinematographer, most famous for his 1926 collection of films entitled The Open Road.
Claude, born Claude Harrison Greene was the son of William Friese-Greene, a pioneer in early cinematography. William began the development of an additive colour film process called Biocolour. This process produced the illusion of true colour by exposing each alternate frame of ordinary black-and-white film stock through two different coloured filters. Each alternate frame of the monochrome print was then stained red or green. Although the projection of Biocolour prints did provide a tolerable illusion of true colour, it suffered from noticeable flickering and red-and-green fringing when the subject was in rapid motion. In an attempt to overcome the colour fringing problem, a faster-than-usual frame rate was used.
In 1911, George Albert Smith and Charles Urban filed a lawsuit against William, claiming that the Biocolour process infringed upon Smith's Kinemacolor patents. William won the first round, but in 1914 the court of the House of Lords reversed the previous decision in favour of Smith and Urban. This meant that William Friese-Greene was unable to exploit the Biocolour system to its full potential. however, in 1915, the House of Lords reversed itself again, and ruled against Kinemacolor.
After William's death in 1921, Claude Friese-Greene continued to develop the system during the 1920s and renamed the process Friese-Greene Natural Colour. Claude was cinematographer on more than 60 films from 1923 to 1943.
In 2006, the BBC ran a series of programmes called The Lost World of Friese-Greene. The series, presented by Dan Cruickshank included The Open Road Claude Friese-Greene's film of his 1920s road trip from Land's End to John o' Groats. The Open Road was filmed using the Biocolour process, and the British Film Institute had to use computer enhancement of the original print of the film to remove the flickering problem.
List of Films in Biocolour
- Dance of the Moods (1924) featuring modern dancer Margaret Morris
- Moonbeam Magic (1924)
- Quest of Colour (1924)
- The Open Road (1924-1926) restored by the British Film Institute 2005
- Home at Last (1926)
- Tommy Atkins (1928)
- Widecombe Fair (1928)
- A Romance of Seville (1929)
- The Middle Watch (1930)
- Uneasy Virtue (1931)
- The Flying Fool (1931)
- The Shadow Between (1931)
- Fires of Fate (1932)
- A Southern Maid (1933)
- Give Her a Ring (1934)
- Menace (1934)
- The Old Curiosity Shop (1934)
- No Monkey Business (1935)
- Music Hath Charms (1935)
- Drake of England (1935)
- Gypsy Melody (1936)
- Star of the Circus (1938)
- Murder in Soho (1939)
- The Middle Watch (1940)
- The Flying Squad (1940)
- Hard Steel (1942)
- The Great Mr. Handel (1942)
- Banana Ridge (1942)
- "BBC - History - Who was Claude Friese-Greene?". BBC. Archived from the original on 18 July 2008.
- "BBC - History - Claude Friese-Greene's Colour Process". BBC. 18 April 2007. Archived from the original on 3 December 2010.
- Rob Young (2010). Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music. Faber & Faber. p. 586. ISBN 0571258425.
- Home at Last A Personal Study of Claude Freise-Greene the inventor of the Freise-Greene colour process. (1926) British Film Institute (BFI) digitally enhanced colour film of London streets and parks.
- "BBC - History - Interview with the British Film Institute". BBC. 18 April 2007. Archived from the original on 18 July 2008.
- Claude Friese-Greene at the Internet Movie Database