Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema

Tom Gunning, Joshua Yumibe, Giovanna Fossati, and Jonathon Rosen

Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema
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Tom Gunning, Joshua Yumibe, Giovanna Fossati, and Jonathon Rosen

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

With a Foreword by Martin Scorsese
288 pages | 300 color plates | 8 3/4 x 9 1/4 | © 2014
Cloth $43.50 ISBN: 9789089646576 Published June 2015 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
We normally think of early film as being black and white, but in truth, the first color cinematography appeared as early as the first decade of the twentieth century. In this visually stunning book, the authors present a treasure trove of early color film images from the archives of EYE Film Institute Netherlands, bringing to life their rich hues and forgotten splendor.

Carefully selecting and reproducing frames from the original film of movies made before World War I, Gunning, Yumibe, Fossati, and Rosen share the images here in a full range of tone and colors. Accompanying essays discuss the history of early film and the technical processes that filmmakers employed to capture these fascinating images, while other contributions explore preservation techniques and describe the visual delights that early film has offered audiences, both then and now. Featuring three hundred color illustrations for readers to examine and enjoy, Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema will engage scholars and buffs alike.

Foreword - Martin Scorsese

Applying Color: Creating Fantasy of Cinema - Tom Gunning

Techniques of the Fantastic - Joshua Yumibe

The Archival Life of Early Color Films: Restoration and Presentation - Giovanna Fossati

Gluttonous Visual Overdose - Jonathon Rosen

A guide to using this book


List of illustrations

Introduction to Filmography · Eli Frongen-Kaynakçi


Bibliography and Contributors


Review Quotes
“Eye-popping. . . . Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema is an essential book—for its gorgeous array of stills, but also because it offers a reminder of how audiences were being dazzled by the magic of color movies long before the color revolution in cinema.”
Martin Scorsese
"I could gaze at the images in this book for hours. They are as fascinating as illuminated manuscripts or magic lantern slides."
Guy Maddin, director of My Winnipeg and The Heart of the World
"The most gorgeous collection of photos I've ever seen. These images, somehow still fresh with the power of their novelty, startle the eye every time I behold them. Mysterious and wondrous effect! And such a fascinating history!"
W.J.T. Mitchell, author of What Do Pictures Want?
"Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema is a brilliant, revelatory book, one that provides an instant cure for the color blindness that afflicts most viewers of early cinema, and a gateway into a little-known world of imagination and technical virtuosity. Illuminated by dazzling reproductions and authoritative essays by leading film scholars, this is the first book to do visual justice to the magical world of early cinema. It is also a masterpiece of book art in its own right." 
Tony Oursler
"In the endless rewrite of art history the moving image seems indefinably futuristic. Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema makes the case for the importance of these mind-blowing masterpieces. These stunningly chromatic film stills link technology and the human touch while revealing one of film's best kept secrets. Traditional painting and sculpture relies on reflected light while projected light opens a wildly new path of experimentation. Here we see, for the very first time, images made at the speed of light."
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