January 27, 2009 9:49 PM   Subscribe

Colour on the Thames is a 7 minute film shot in 1935 using Gasparcolor, one of the many early forms of tinting black and white film. Beside Colour on the Thames, which provides a wonderful view of 1930's England, the only film made in Gasparcolor I could find online was Colour Flight by New Zealand artist Len Lye, an abstract cartoon set to instrumental 1930's pop music. The story of Gasparcolor is in itself interesting, for instance touching on Nazis, Hungary between the wars and early color animation.
posted by Kattullus (12 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Oh and! Credit to William Gibson for the link to Colour on the Thames.
posted by Kattullus at 9:50 PM on January 27, 2009

Really nice, thank you.
posted by digaman at 9:57 PM on January 27, 2009

Really cool.
posted by brundlefly at 10:14 PM on January 27, 2009

Amazing how recently the Thames was still such a bustling commercial waterway - the boats with sails you see a few of are the famous Thames lighters I think; mostly just converted to be house-boats now.
posted by Abiezer at 10:23 PM on January 27, 2009

I want to congratulate you on being at the forefront of the 1930s light-orchestral pop revival with this post too, Katullus. Hipster tea-dances at Lyons-Corner-House themed clubs are literally only months away.
posted by Abiezer at 10:26 PM on January 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

Lye also made this Gasparcolor ad for the Post Office Savings Bank - Rainbow Dance (very ipod). His Dufaycolor film Swinging the Lambeth Walk is very cool too.
posted by tellurian at 10:40 PM on January 27, 2009

I'm just sitting here in awe.

Isn't it weird how putting something in color drives it home that it really existed?
posted by dunkadunc at 11:05 PM on January 27, 2009

Like, dunkadunc, whenever I see "old" times in color, it seems more real, like you've actually got a window into the past. Excellent post. There were some WWI color photos floating around the web a few months ago that were similarly eerie.
posted by wastelands at 11:36 PM on January 27, 2009

Lye! OMG, how nice to see his work here.

Lye has a great body of work including a bunch of kinetic sculpture. Much of his film work, including the one in this post, was done by painting the film, cell by cell.

Personally I prefer Tusalava.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:17 AM on January 28, 2009

The BFI channel on Youtube. Is fantastic. This London traffic scene in particular is mental.
posted by Summer at 3:47 AM on January 28, 2009

Colour Flight - one of the earliest commercial attempts at going viral!
posted by Xoebe at 9:27 AM on January 28, 2009

Fun fact about Len Lye: only one gallery in New Zealand every exhibited his work during his lifetime; like Goldie, the art establishment in New Zealand held (and, in Goldie's case) hold him in contempt[1]. That was the Govett-Brewster in New Plymouth, a rather small and very provincial city. When Lye died, he willed that part of his work still in his possession to them.

Now that Lye has some recognition in New Zealand from the at least some of the establishment, Christchurch bodies demand 'their' Len Lye collection from the Govett-Bewster every few years.

[1] Although in Lye's case, for being too avant-garde, rather than Goldie, who wasn't sufficiently so.
posted by rodgerd at 1:44 PM on January 28, 2009

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