The 1908 film A Visit to the Seaside is widely regarded as the first successful movie to utilize natural color. There were many, many experimental films done before that but they either haven’t survived through history or didn’t end up working quite right. But, watching people hang out on the boardwalk isn’t exactly thrilling, especially doing it for eight minutes.
Luckily, back in 1899, the Lumiere Brothers made a film called The Serpentine Dance which features a young woman dancing. Even though it’s now over 100 years old, it’s still captivating. Plus, the frames were all hand-colored (which probably quadrupled post-production time) so in a loosely-defined way, this is one of the very first color films. It’s also in a loosely-defined way, one of the first animated films, too. But more fascinating than that, it stands as a testament to early experimentation and a time where old art forms were being infused into the new.
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