Color was used in film well before The Wizard of Oz. Thomas Edison, for example, projected two-colored films at his first public screening in New York City on April 23, 1896. These first colors of early cinema were not photographic; they were applied manually through a variety of laborious processes—most commonly by the hand-coloring and stenciling of prints frame by frame, and the tinting and toning of films in vats of chemical dyes. The results were remarkably beautiful.
Moving Color is the first book-length study of the beginnings of color cinema. Looking backward, Joshua Yumibe traces the legacy of color history from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the cinema of the early twentieth century. Looking forward, he explores the implications of this genealogy on experimental and contemporary digital cinemas in which many colors have become, once again, vividly unhinged from photographic reality. Throughout this history, Moving Color revolves around questions pertaining to the sensuousness of color: how color moves us in the cinema—visually, emotionally, and physically.