List of early color feature films

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This is a list of early color feature length films from 1903-1935, when the Technicolor three-strip process ("Process 4") was introduced. On the list below, all movies prior to The Show of Shows (1929) are silent films. About 36 percent of the movies on this list are thought to be lost films, with no prints surviving, or with only partial prints surviving. (This does not include movies that now exist only in black-and-white prints.)

The earliest attempts to produce color films involved hand-painting the negative or tinting it with dye. Stencil-based techniques such as Pathéchrome and the Handschiegl color process were an extension of this. Several dyes were rolled over the negative, each with an appropriate stencil underneath to restrict the dye to the desired parts of the print. Since transparent dye preserved the varying brightness of the black and white image, the result could look rather naturalistic, but in fact the choice of what colors to use and where was made by a person. Kinemacolor was the first process to capture natural color on film stock.

Technicolor[edit]

Beginning in 1932, Technicolor introduced a new color process—"Process 4", with one negative for each primary color and a "matrix" to improve contrast. This became the standard for the major Hollywood studios.

Constance Bennett and her husband Henri de la Falaise produced two feature-length documentaries Legong: Dance of the Virgins (1935) in Bali, and Kliou the Killer Tiger (1936) in Indochina, both in the two-color Technicolor process. However, only Legong survives in color.

List of films[edit]

Title Released Technicolor Short Company Preservation Status
A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune) France, 1902 Hand-colored 845 feet Star Film Company One color copy exists
La Vie et la passion de Jésus Christ France, 1903 Pathéchrome Pathé Frères Extant. Also known as The Passion Play and Vie et Passion du Christ
With Our King and Queen Through India UK, 1912 Kinemacolor National Kinemacolor Ltd. First feature capturing natural color rather than colorization techniques. Two hours exist of what may have been a six-hour documentary of the Delhi Durbar; filmed 12 December 1911, released 2 February 1912.
The Miracle UK, 1912 Pathéchrome Joseph Menchen (personal project) The first stencil-colored feature-length narrative film. Filmed in in Austria in October 1912, UK release on 21 December 1912. Original running time 2 hours (7,000 feet). A shorter black-and-white print is extant, held at the CNC Archives, France.
The World, the Flesh and the Devil UK, 1914 Kinemacolor National Kinemacolor Ltd. Lost film.
Little Lord Fauntleroy UK, 1914 Kinemacolor National Kinemacolor Ltd. Lost film.
Joan the Woman US, 1916 Handschiegl Color Process inserts Famous Players-Lasky Survives complete with color sequences. Directed by Cecil B. DeMille. (Color was billed as the "DeMille-Wyckoff Process")
The Gulf Between US, 1917 Technicolor feature Technicolor Corporation Lost film (a few frames of the film exist, showing star Grace Darmond)
The Devil-Stone US, 1917 Handschiegl Color Process inserts Famous Players-Lasky Directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Only two reels survive in AFI collection at Library of Congress.
Cupid Angling US, 1918 Douglass Natural Color Douglass Natural Color Film Inc. Lost film. Only feature film made in this process.
The Glorious Adventure US, 1918 Kinemacolor Goldwyn Pictures Directed by Hobart Henley. Status unknown.
Treasure Island US, 1920 Hand coloring (?Handschiegl) Paramount Pictures Directed by Maurice Tourneur. Lost film.
Roman Candles (Yankee Doodle Jr.) US, 1920 Handschiegl Color Process inserts Cineart Lost film
Bali the Unknown US, 1921 Prizma feature Prizma Inc. Five-reel documentary opened 27 February 1921 at Capitol Theatre in NYC
The Three Musketeers US, 1921 Handschiegl Color Process inserts United Artists Film survives in black-and-white only.
The Toll of the Sea US, 1922 Technicolor feature 3190 ft. Technicolor/Metro Pictures Last two reels are lost. Available on DVD.
A Blind Bargain US, 1922 Handschiegl Color Process inserts 188 ft. Goldwyn Pictures Lost film.
The Glorious Adventure US/UK, 1922 Prizma feature United Artists Directed by J. Stuart Blackton. Extant at the British Film Institute.
Flames of Passion UK, 1922 Prizma insert Astra Film Directed by Graham Cutts. Lost film.
Foolish Wives US, 1922 Hand coloring inserts Universal Pictures Hand coloring by Gustav Brock.
Red Lights US, 1923 Handschiegl Color inserts Goldwyn Pictures Extant in black-and-white only.
The Ten Commandments US, 1923 Technicolor inserts, Handschiegl Color Process Paramount Pictures Survives complete. Is on DVD.
Vanity Fair US, 1923 Prizma insert Goldwyn Pictures Directed by Hugo Ballin. Lost film.
The Virgin Queen UK, 1923 Prizma insert J. Stuart Blackton Productions Directed by J. Stuart Blackton. Status unknown.
I Pagliacci UK, 1923 Prizma insert Napoleon Films Starring Lillian Hall-Davis. Status unknown.
The Uninvited Guest US, 1924 Technicolor insert Metro Pictures Preservation status unknown.
Cytherea US, 1924 Technicolor insert 230 ft. Technicolor/Goldwyn Pictures Lost film. First Technicolor film shot under artificial light.
Wanderer of the Wasteland US, 1924 Technicolor feature 3854 ft. Paramount Lost film. Individual color frames survive.
Venus of the South Seas US, 1924 Prizma Insert Lee-Bradford Corp. Extant. Restored by the Library of Congress in 2004. Final reel is in Prizma.
Heritage of the Desert US, 1924 Technicolor insert 34 ft. Paramount Starring Bebe Daniels. Unknown status.
The Dance of the Moods UK, 1924 Friese-Greene Natural Colour Friese-Greene Productions Unknown if a feature or short film.
Moonbeam Magic UK, 1924 Prizma feature Spectrum Films Produced by Claude Friese-Greene. Directed by Felix Orman. Last UK feature in Prizma. Status unknown, possibly at BFI.
The Open Road UK, 1924 Biocolor Friese-Greene Productions A print was restored and shown on the BBC in 2006.
The Thief of Bagdad US, 1924 Hand coloring or tinting Douglas Fairbanks Productions/United Artists released on DVD by Kino International
Ben-Hur US, 1925 Technicolor inserts 1029 ft. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Extant. On DVD.
Cyrano de Bergerac Italy/France, 1925 Pathéchrome feature 9501 ft. Unione Cinematografica Italiana Starring Pierre Magnier. Extant.
The Phantom of the Opera US, 1925 Technicolor inserts, Kelley Color /Handschiegl Color 497 ft. Universal Pictures One color segment survives. On DVD.
The Merry Widow US, 1925 Technicolor insert 136 ft. MGM Film survives, but two-minute color sequence is lost.
Stage Struck US, 1925 Technicolor inserts Paramount Extant with color sequences. Restored by George Eastman House. Starring Gloria Swanson.
Pretty Ladies US, 1925 Technicolor insert 597 ft. MGM Extant only in black-and-white.
His Supreme Moment US, 1925 Technicolor insert 517 ft. First National Pictures Lost film.
The Big Parade US, 1925 Applied color by Technicolor 154 ft. MGM Feature and color exists.
So This Is Marriage? US, 1925 Technicolor insert 729 ft. MGM Unknown
Seven Chances US, 1925 Technicolor insert 275 ft. MGM Extant with color. On DVD.
The King on Main Street US, 1925 Technicolor insert 105 ft. Paramount Survives complete.
Fig Leaves US, 1926 Technicolor insert 969 ft. Fox Film Corporation Extant only in black-and-white.
Beverly of Graustark US, 1926 Technicolor insert 354 ft. MGM Extant.
Gli ultimi giorni di Pompeii Italy, 1926 Pathéchrome feature 12083 ft. Società Italiana Grandi Films Extant. US Title: The Last Days of Pompeii
Irene US, 1926 Technicolor insert 972 ft. First National Pictures Survives complete with color sequence.
The Flaming Forest US, 1926 Technicolor insert 203 ft. MGM Extant at Library of Congress.
The American Venus US, 1926 Technicolor insert 1574 ft. Paramount Lost film. Two trailers, and brief clip of color insert, survive at the Library of Congress.
The Black Pirate US, 1926 Technicolor feature 8124 ft. United Artists Original version survives in 2 strip Technicolor at the BFI. A color restoration is from outtakes. On DVD.
The Fire Brigade US, 1926 Applied color sequence 692 ft. MGM Extant.
The Joy Girl US, 1926 Technicolor insert 285 ft. Fox A copy may survive in the Museum of Modern Art film archive.
The King of Kings US, 1927 Technicolor inserts DeMille Productions/Pathé Exchange Survives complete. Is on DVD.
Winners of the Wilderness US, 1927 Technicolor feature MGM 16mm print exists. Starring Joan Crawford.
Annie Laurie US, 1927 Technicolor insert 204 ft. MGM Extant with color at the Library of Congress.
The Wizard US, 1927 Hand coloring Fox Lost film.
Napoléon France, 1927 Keller-Dorian process sequences Abel Gance/Gaumont Extant. Keller-Dorian process proved to be impractical.
La Femme et le pantin France, 1928 Keller-Dorian process Status unknown. Directed by Jacques de Baroncelli
None But the Brave US, 1928 Technicolor insert 549 ft. Fox Unknown
The Wedding March US, 1928 Technicolor insert, hand coloring. 294 ft. Paramount Extant. Directed by Erich von Stroheim
Red Hair US, 1928 Technicolor insert 57 ft. Paramount Lost film. Color tests survive at UCLA Film and Television Archive.
Casanova Germany, 1928 Pathéchrome insert Ciné-Alliance/Pathé Extant. Based on operetta by Ralph Benatzky.
The Viking US, 1928 Technicolor feature 8398 ft. MGM Extant. The first Technicolor feature with sound.
The Water Hole US, 1928 Technicolor inserts 332 ft. Paramount Status unknown.
Court-Martial US, 1928 Technicolor insert 473 ft. Columbia Pictures Status unknown.
Harmony Heaven UK, 1929 Pathéchrome inserts British International Pictures Extant at British Film Institute.
Devil-May-Care US, 1929 Technicolor insert Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Redskin US, 1929 Technicolor inserts 4463 ft. Paramount Survives complete.
The Show of Shows US, 1929 Technicolor feature 9987 ft. Warner Brothers Only survives in black-and-white except "Chinese Fantasy" scene with Myrna Loy and Nick Lucas.
Pointed Heels US, 1929 Technicolor inserts 270 ft. Paramount Extant complete at UCLA. Broadcast master is in black-and-white.
On With the Show US, 1929 Technicolor 9592 ft. Warner Brothers Extant in black-and-white. 20-second color clip also exists in private collection. The first all-talking color feature.
Paris US, 1929 Technicolor inserts 3645 ft. Warner Brothers Picture lost. Soundtrack extant.
Gold Diggers of Broadway US, 1929 Technicolor feature 9122 ft. Warner Brothers Only two out of ten reels of this movie survive. Soundtrack extant.
Sally US, 1929 Technicolor feature 9280 ft. First National-Warner Brothers Extant only in black-and-white. Two-minute color sequence also extant.
Glorifying the American Girl US, 1929 Technicolor insert 897 ft. Paramount Extant complete. On DVD.
The Broadway Melody US, 1929 Technicolor insert 307 ft. MGM Extant in black-and-white only. On DVD.
The Desert Song US, 1929 Technicolor insert 306 ft. Warner Brothers Extant in black-and-white only.
Sunny Side Up US, 1929 Multicolor inserts Fox Extant in black-and-white only.
The Hollywood Revue of 1929 US, 1929 Technicolor inserts 1360 ft. MGM Extant
Broadway US, 1929 Technicolor insert 198 ft. Universal Survives in a talking version and a silent version made for theaters without sound equipment. The talking version is missing the final reel, the color sequence, which does survive in the silent version.
Married in Hollywood US, 1929 Multicolor insert Fox Only final reel in Multicolor survives at UCLA Film and Television Archive.
Red Hot Rhythm US, 1929 Multicolor insert Pathé Exchange Only one number in color, the title song, survives.
This Thing Called Love US, 1929 Multicolor insert Pathé Exchange Lost film except for color sequence.
The Dance of Life US, 1929 Technicolor insert 779 ft. Paramount Survives in black and White. Part of the Technicolor sequence survives at the Library of Congress.
Footlights and Fools US, 1929 Technicolor inserts 1183 ft. First National-Warner Brothers Lost film.
His First Command US, 1929 Multicolor inserts Pathé Exchange Extant in black-and-white. Status of Multicolor sequences unknown.
It's a Great Life (1929 film) US, 1929 Technicolor inserts 1391 ft. MGM Extant. On DVD from Warner Archive Collection.
The Mysterious Island US, 1929 Technicolor inserts 7234 ft. MGM First reel (with some color) extant at UCLA. Remaining footage extant in black and white only.
Rio Rita US, 1929 Technicolor insert 2680 ft. RKO Radio Pictures Survives in a cut re-release copy with all color sequences.
The Rogue Song US, 1929 Technnicolor feature 9565 ft. MGM Lost film. One reel with a ballet sequence, one reel with Lawrence Tibbett singing, one fragment of Laurel and Hardy in color, and the trailer exist.
Fox Movietone Follies of 1929 US, 1929 Multicolor inserts Fox Lost film.
The Great Gabbo US, 1929 Multicolor insert Sono Art-World Wide Pictures Survives complete except for color musical number "The Ga-Ga Bird". On DVD.
Smiling Irish Eyes US, 1929 Technicolor inserts First National Pictures Lost film. Soundtrack discs survive at UCLA.
The Life of the Party US, 1930 Technicolor feature 7202 ft. Warner Brothers Extant only in black-and-white.
Hold Everything US, 1930 Technicolor feature 7280 ft. Warner Brothers Lost film. Soundtrack extant.
The Vagabond King US, 1930 Technicolor feature 9413 ft. Paramount Only complete copy restored by UCLA
Just for a Song UK, 1930 Pathécolor sequences Gainsborough Pictures Lost film
Paramount on Parade US, 1930 Technicolor inserts 2517 ft. Paramount Film and all color sequences survive, however sound to some color sequences is missing. Restored by UCLA Film and Television Archive
Under a Texas Moon US, 1930 Technicolor feature 7501 ft. Warner Brothers Survives in a complete color copy.
Whoopee! US, 1930 Technicolor feature 8681 ft. United Artists Survives in a complete color copy.
Elstree Calling UK, 1930 Pathéchrome Inserts British International Pictures Extant at the British Film Institute. Co-directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Hell's Angels US, 1930 Multicolor insert 866 ft. United Artists Color sequence and film survive complete. Scene filmed in Multicolor, printed by Technicolor
King of Jazz US, 1930 Technicolor feature 9320 ft. Universal Extant.
Chasing Rainbows US, 1930 Technicolor insert 1249 ft. MGM Color sequences are lost.
They Learned About Women US, 1930 Technicolor insert MGM Survives in black and white only.
Good News US, 1930 Multicolor insert MGM Color is lost.
Show Girl in Hollywood US, 1930 Technicolor insert 832 ft. First National-Warner Brothers Extant only in black-and-white.
Kismet US, 1930 N/A First National-Warner Brothers Lost film.
Bride of the Regiment US, 1930 Technicolor feature 7418 ft. First National-Warner Brothers Picture lost. Soundtrack extant.
Puttin' on the Ritz US, 1930 Technicolor Insert 953 ft. United Artists Extant only in black-and-white.
Mammy US, 1930 Technicolor Inserts 1497 ft. Warner Brothers Extant. The first Al Jolson film with color.
Call of the Flesh US, 1930 Technicolor insert 721 ft. MGM Extant only in black-and-white.
Bright Lights US, 1930 Technicolor feature 6416 ft. Warner Brothers Extant only in black-and-white.
Children of Pleasure US, 1930 Technicolor insert ~700 ft. MGM Survives complete in black-and-white. Color sequences extant in sections.
General Crack US, 1930 Technicolor insert 532 ft. Warner Brothers Survives in a silent copy with no color sequences made for theaters without sound equipment.
Melody Man US, 1930 Technicolor insert 826 ft. Columbia Pictures Extant only in black-and-white.
Follow Thru US, 1930 Technicolor feature 8383 ft. Paramount Extant.
New Movietone Follies of 1930 US, 1930 Multicolor inserts Fox Extant -- only copy at UCLA
The Florodora Girl US, 1930 Technicolor insert 608 ft. MGM Extant.
Mamba US, 1930 Technicolor feature 6998 ft. Tiffany Pictures Extant.
Sweet Kitty Bellairs US, 1930 Technicolor feature 5846 ft. Warner Brothers Extant only in black-and-white.
Son of the Gods US, 1930 Technicolor insert 442 ft. Warner Brothers Extant only in black-and-white.
Song of the Flame US, 1930 Technicolor feature 6501 ft. Warner Brothers Lost film. Soundtrack extant.
Song of the West US, 1930 Technicolor feature 7189 ft. Warner Brothers Lost film. Vitaphone discs extant.
Viennese Nights US, 1930 Technicolor feature 9191 ft. Warner Brothers Extant, preserved at UCLA.
Golden Dawn US, 1930 Technicolor feature 7546 ft. Warner Brothers Extant in black-and-white only.
Peacock Alley US, 1930 Technicolor insert 651 ft. Tiffany Extant; color sequence is at the Library of Congress.
No, No, Nanette US, 1930 Technicolor Sequences 3895 ft. First National-Warner Brothers Lost film.
The Lottery Bride US, 1930 Technicolor insert 358 ft. United Artists Color sequence survives at the George Eastman House. On DVD.
Lord Byron of Broadway US, 1930 Technicolor insert 878 ft. MGM Extant.
Leathernecking US, 1930 Technicolor insert 1474 ft. RKO Lost film.
Hit the Deck US, 1930 Technicolor insert 3772 ft. RKO Lost film.
Dixiana US, 1930 Technicolor insert 2006 ft. RKO Extant.
The Cuckoos US, 1930 Technicolor insert 833 ft. RKO Extant.
Delicious US, 1931 Multicolor inserts Fox Extant only in black-and-white.
Woman Hungry US, 1931 Technicolor feature 6119 ft. Warner Brothers Lost film.
Manhattan Parade US, 1931 Technicolor feature 6692 ft. Warner Brothers Extant only in black-and-white.
Fifty Million Frenchmen US, 1931 Technicolor feature 6480 ft. Warner Brothers Extant only in black-and-white.
Kiss Me Again US, 1931 Technicolor feature Warner Brothers Extant only in black-and-white.
The Runaround US, 1931 Technicolor feature 5714 ft. RKO Extant only in black-and-white, except for color first reel at Museum of Modern Art.
Fanny Foley Herself US, 1931 Technicolor feature 6699 ft. RKO Lost film. Technicolor trailer extant at George Eastman House.
Doctor X US, 1932 Technicolor feature 7048 ft. Warner Brothers Extant. On DVD.
The Death Kiss US, 1932 Hand colored inserts Sono Art-World Wide Pictures Extant. Hand color by Gustav Brock.
Mystery of the Wax Museum US, 1933 Technicolor feature 7184 ft. Warner Brothers Extant. On DVD.
Radio Parade of 1935 UK, 1934 Dufaycolor inserts British International Pictures Two sequences were filmed in Dufaycolor. Extant.
Adventure Girl US, 1934 Hand colored inserts Van Beuren Studios Extant. Hand color by Gustav Brock.
Legong: Dance of the Virgins US, 1935 Technicolor feature 5054 ft. DuWorld Pictures (US)/Paramount (Int'l) Produced by Constance Bennett and Henri de la Falaise. Feature-length documentary filmed entirely in Technicolor. Restored in 1999 by UCLA Film and Television Archive. On DVD.
Kliou the Killer
(Kliou the Killer Tiger)
US, 1935 Technicolor feature 4917 ft. Bennett Pictures/DuWorld Pictures (US) Final two-color Technicolor feature. Extant only in black and white. On DVD.

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