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The Cariboo Trail (1950)


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The Cariboo Trail (1950) was filmed in Cinecolor, but every time TCM shows it, it's the B&W version; will we ever be able to see it in color?


Which reminds me - -

I'm just "positive" that I read/heard a good while back that "Red Badge of Courage" was also a color movie and that the Eastmancolor had faded SO badly as to be unwatchable - hence, it was being shown everywhere in B/W; that, indeed, Ted Turner had, for once, colorized a color movie, making sense to a lot of people. Since then, I've seen the movie and no mention at all of Technicolor/Eastmancolor/nothing in the opening credits. I didn't watch "Cariboo Trail" this time around, and my copy is WAY to deep in the "vaults," but I don't remember any color credit in the titles.


So, part of my question is: Were there color movies for which b/w prints were struck with titles/credits making no mention of color? I know the early color movies for which all color copies/negatives seem to have disappeared often show things like "Technicolor sequences by....," etc. on the 16MM or whatever copies we're being shown; but how about by the 'Fifties?


And the original question: Has anybody else heard the story about "Red Badge," and do you know if it's true (or any part of what I remember)?


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Re: Cariboo Trail: The survival of original 2-Strip Technicolor and later 2-Strip Cinecolor positive prints is hazardous because the emulsion is printed on both sides of the film, and tends to stick together over a period of time. A friend of mine had a 35MM Cinecolor print of The Cariboo Trail which was unprojectable because the whole thing had completely stuck together. Of course there's no problem with the original separation negatives.


Re: Red Badge of Courage: It was originally released theatrically in black and white and pre-release data on it makes no mention of color; AFI website should be able to provide more information. I saw the colorized version and the coloring job was pretty awful.


Re: Color films released in B&W. In the 1940's many Technicolor films were re-released theatrically in black and white, particularly by 20th Century-Fox. Among them, Jesse James, Drums Along the Mohawk, The Black Swan, and Blood and Sand; this was because Technicolor prints were more expensive to strike, and the financial returns from the re-release market were limited. WB re-released Dodge City in B&W, as did Columbia with Desperadoes. MGM even re-released Little Women (1949) and Excuse My Dust (1950) in B&W in the 1960's. In the 1950's and 1960's, occasionally films made in color in England or elsewhere in Europe would find their way to USA in B&W first run, among them, The Old Dark House, The Vulture, High Flight, and The Last Shot You Hear, all of which eventually turned up on USA television in color. In most cases, I have added this information to the listings on IMDb, so the documentation is out there. In the mid-1950's, an independent distributor, Dominant Film Corporation, picked up the re-release rights to a lot of Warner Bros. films, and those originally in color were all re-printed in B&W, most notably The Adventures of Robin Hood, which had been re-released previously by WB in 1948 in Technicolor, but was not seen again in 35MM Technicolor until the mid-1970's when I subsidized the striking of a new IB print to show at the Gateway Cinema in San Francisco.


Jack Tillmany

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Re: Red Badge of Courage: It was originally released theatrically in black and white and pre-release data on it makes no mention of color; AFI website should be able to provide more information.


Thanks for the info. It has to be at least 5 years (10, maybe?) since I heard the story; it never did seem right to me. That is one movie that simply looks "right" in black-and-white.


I can't say for sure whether I ever saw the colorized one. There are a couple of movies I think look so good colorized (including one version of everyone's sacrosanct holiday movie), and others, terrible. I remember seeing one version of "Miracle" (not the movie to which I referred above) which looked like it had been done in crayon, and a year later there was a different one that looked very natural. When there are studio materials available (as I read there were for "Casablanca") which detail every color of every item (clothing, even) used in a b/w movie, then there can be every chance of success - not expressing myself on the result of "C's" colorization, mind you. (How's all this for waffling?)


I work sometimes with very old reel-to-reel tapes. Some of them (the only one I saw in terribly serious condition was, thank Goodness, a radio broadcast of a recording, not something archival) had the oxide from the adjacent layer stuck to the "wrong" side of the tape. When bad enough you heard both runs at once; when worse, almost ALL of it came of and you could flip the tape over and try to dub (in which case, worst was actually best!).


Didn't know about cinecolor being processed on both sides (whereas "Glorious Technicolor" told about two-strip technicolor being 2 prints stuck together to form a VERY thick projection film which didn't run well through the projectors and had all sorts of problems.

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