Happy 4th of July!

Rin Tin Tin and Betty Compson as the Spirit of Liberty circa 1925:
Rin Tin Tin and Betty Compson as the Spirit of Liberty Final
Pastiche compliments of Yours Truly.

Published in: on July 2, 2014 at 9:33 PM  Leave a Comment  

2013 – Old Hollywood in Color in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Lt. Humphrey Bogart tells his men, “Boys, by my calculations the New Year should arrive at about midnight.” CHINA CLIPPER (1936)

Bogart_CHINA CLIPPER 1936 copy_edited-1

Click here to see the complete report.

Published in: on December 31, 2013 at 3:34 PM  Leave a Comment  

Old Hollywood in Color Surpasses 10,000 Visits!!!

“Gosh, Miss Norma, you haven’t gotten this dressed up since we broke 5,000 hits.”

Norma Shearer in the lost film, EMPTY HANDS (1924).

“You see, Jack, I told you our blog passed 10,000 visits.”

Louis Wolheim and John Barrymore in TEMPEST (1928).

“Remember your promise to me if we broke 10,000 hits?”

Mary Philbin and Arthur Edmund Carewe in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925).

“This is even better than my wedding day!”

Mary Astor in the lost film THE SCARLET SAINT (1925).

“And I told them that they’d be lucky to get 100 hits.”

Director, writer, actor Erich von Stroheim, circa 1922.

“Conny, I think this wig has almost as many curls as our blog has had hits.”

Makeup artist Jack Pierce and Conrad Veidt on the set of THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (1928).

Published in: on March 23, 2012 at 1:56 PM  Leave a Comment  

Let’s Make it 10,000 Hits

Your blogmeister has asked some good friends of this site to rally the troops to break 10,000 hits sooner than later. Herewith are friends of OHIC:

“Come on, fellas, help make me a star”

Joan Crawford 1928

“Confucius say, ‘One who visit this site is colorful.'”

Lon Chaney as MR. WU (1927)

“But John, you might become the the 10,000th visitor”

Mary Astor and John Barrymore in BEAU BRUMMEL (1924)

“Don’t force me to become unpleasant”

Conrad Veidt in CASABLANCA (1942)

“Don’t despair mother, we’ll break 10,000 any day now”

Greta Garbo and Lucy Beaumont in TORRENT (1926)

“I find no humor in this situation”

Buster Keaton 1931

“Come up and see me some time… to log into OLD HOLLYWOOD IN COLOR.”

Cary Grant and Mae West in 1933

“Keep logging into this site or you’ll never work in this town again.”

Louis B. Mayer in 1930

“He means it too!”

W.C. Fields circa 1938

Published in: on March 12, 2012 at 9:00 PM  Comments (1)  

Now Available! The Book OLD HOLLYWOOD IN COLOR

We are proud to announce the publication of OLD HOLLYWOOD IN COLOR, which is available through Amazon.com. There, you’ll find photos from the book and reviews. The book itself is a large 8.5×11 inches. Thanks for taking a look!

Published in: on November 21, 2011 at 2:10 PM  Comments (2)  
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About this Site

This blog is more or less a companion site to the Arliss Archives, which is a celebration of actor, author, playwright and film maker George Arliss (1868-1946). As the Arliss site evolved, I found that adding digital color to original black & white photographs sometimes produced startlingly good results. More importantly, the “cinemagraphic painting process” as I call it, brought a contemporary quality to these visions of long ago. Some black and white photos were obviously designed to exploit the beauty of light and shadows and those works I have preserved in their original greytones as the photographer intended.

Purists may contest this point, but the fact is that most studio photographs from old Hollywood used black and white film in a utilitarian manner because color film was either too expensive or unavailable. The studios themselves routinely converted B&W photos into color posters, lobby cards, and even colorized glass slides projected onto movie screens. So historically there is a long tradition of adding color to these images and we lose nothing by using 21st century processing techniques to render these wonderful vintage photographs into the spectrum. Instead, we gain an insight into that Golden Age to see the world just as the people who lived back then saw it. For example…..

One of my favorites – Al Jolson. Here is an original photo taken during his 1930 film, MAMMY. The black and white photography is not especially artistic:

Turning this photo into color involves a number of judgment calls. Not only the choice of colors to apply, but their shade and intensity. Another judgment call: what not to color, which can be as important as deciding what to color. The point is this: if we were standing next to the camera, which of these two photos comes closer to what we would have seen?

Another favorite – John Barrymore. This portrait from his first talkie, GENERAL CRACK (1930), is carefully composed after the style of late 18th century paintings. The most obvious difference is that this photo is black and white:

Whereas the portraits that inspired the photo were painted in color:

At any rate, this explains the rationale behind this site. Of course, we will be including original color material as well as our digital creations. If you’d like to see more, then please subscribe at the link on the right column here. Our first post is planned for launch in late July as an anniversary tribute to the legendary Rudolph Valentino so please don’t miss it. Thanks.

Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 7:20 PM  Comments (7)  
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