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On With the Show

On With the Show(1929)

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On With the Show (1929)

This Betty Compson drama about the squabbles and triumphs of a group of scrappy Broadway actors just before opening night is amusing enough, but what makes this movie most remarkable is that is was the first motion picture formatted the way Hollywood creates movies today -- full-length, in color, with synchronized sound. The color film used was Process 2, or "two-strip" Technicolor, which uses film shot through red and green filters to approximate the full spectrum color of the world. The limitations of the technology rendered skin tones a little too rosy and "blue" skies a little sickly, but surviving two-strip films like The Toll of the Sea (1922) still sparkle with bright crimsons and rich emerald greens. Sadly, save for a very brief sequence discovered in 2005, there are no surviving color prints of On with the Show. The only way to see this prophetic picture today is in black and white, but at least Compson's very modern and magnetic performance remains to welcome the future of film.

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