Kodak 1922 Test Film Showcases One Of The Oldest Color Motion Pictures [Video]

A test film produced in 1922 by Kodachrome made use of color 13 years before the first full-length color motion picture was released.

Kodak reportedly shot the footage as a way to test color film for use in motion pictures. According to Digital Journal, the four-minute short predates the Academy Awards by about seven years.

The clip embedded below was obtained from the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York. Thomas Hoehn, Director at Worldwide Interactive Mktg, is the one responsible for unearthing the film at the museum.

He said of the finding:

“Watching this little film clip was like time travel for me! I thought that it would be interesting to share during Oscar week. In order to share we had to scan the original piece of film to create the version you will see below. There are digital enhancements that can be made to address this but we thought it better to keep this in its original form.”

The New York Daily News reports that silent film stars Mae Murray (The Merry Widow) and Hope Hampton (The Gold Diggers) stepped in front of the camera for the color test footage at Paragon Studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

The website explains that Hampton is modeling a costume from the motion picture The Light and the Dark, a movie which utilized the same color process as Kodak’s short film.

Italian film student Sabrina Negri said he originally restored the 1922 footage at the Cineco Haghefilm lab back in 2009.

He explained:

“We didn’t use any digital tools at the time. It was all photochemical. It is very painstaking work that can be a lot of fun. And the fact that the film can be seen again by an audience is exciting!”

You can check out the color footage below.

What do you think of the Kodak’s 1922 color test footage?