Imagine the thrill for audiences back in 1939 when Dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ opened that door and stepped into a glorious Technicolor world. The real world is in black and white – the fantasy world of Oz in is radiant color.
Studios in the 30s were forever teasing audiences with color sequences in the otherwise usual black and white movies. There were only so many Technicolor cameras,strictly controlled by the Technicolor company. and of course the cost of filming in color far exceeded black and white.
During the decade, there was much experimentation in color film until the full three-strip Technicolor hit the screen – with Walt Disney one of the first to see what could be done with color.
There were only a few films (for example, Nothing Sacred,Gone With The Wind) made entirely in color, but from the start of sound films, the public were shown what was to come.
Only black and white sequences of the number,‘Wedding of the Painted Doll’ survives from Broadway Melody of 1929. The song and dance number was filmed in two-tone Technicolor (mainly red and green.)
Samuel Goldwyn spared nothing in the spectacular finale of Kid Millions – ‘The Ice Cream Factory’ number was filmed in Technicolor and looks amazing (with Eddie Cantor and Ethel Merman).
The tantalising glimpses of color continued into the 40s. In the film Irene, Anna Neagle’s number ‘Alice Blue Gown’ was in color.
The Tyrone Power film, I’ll Never Forget You’ had the modern day sequences in black and white ,and the historical scenes (in the 18th Century) in color.
In Britain, A Matter of Life and Death, Earth is shown in its natural color while Heaven is in black and white.
A process called Dufaycolor ( invented by Frenchman,Louis Dufay in 1908) was used in Radio Parade of 1935, for the number ‘Black Shadows‘,sung by Alberta Hunter.
And in The Picture of Dorian Gray,when we see the portrait of the young man played by Hurd Hatfield, it is in color, as is the painting of him at the end of the film, when his debauchery is shown through the picture.
Any other examples?