See The Roaring ’20s In Color For The First Time With Vintage Kodachrome Footage

Slate unearthed this Kodak footage from 1922 and it’s absolutely stunning and unreal. It’s some of the first full-color, moving pictures available. Whenever I watch shows like Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire, I always wonder how authentic the aesthetics are because the only images I’ve seen from the era are in black and white. Were women as pale? Were their cheeks really so rosy? Were their lips really so red? Their hair such bright scarlets and bleached blonds? Apparently, yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

The flicker of the film gives these actresses a glow and look of flawlessness unmatched by any of the horrendous soft lenses we see today. Why do we use high definition cameras again? Because it just makes everyone look horrible.

Slate says of the footage, “This clip is a very early, full-color Kodachrome film made by Kodak in 1922 to test new film stock and color processing. It is a lovely little four-and-a-half minutes of pretty actresses gesturing for the camera. . . In 1922, for all its technical achievements, Kodak hadn’t yet done away with the flicker that gave movies one of their earliest and most enduring nicknames: the ‘flicks.’ The flicker resulted from variations in film speed produced by the slow, hand-cranked cameras of the time and by variations in the density of the film itself.”

The footage is really insightful when you think about fashion, ideals of beauty to even how women gesture has changed. So cool.


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