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USA, 1935 (MIFF 1986, Retrospectives)

Director: Rouben Mamoulian

BECKY SHARP, directed by Rouben Mamoulian, was the first feature film shot in full colour, that is, in three-strip Technicolor. Loosely based on William Thackeray's VANITY FAIR. BECKY SHARP was hailed as "a momentous event... a gallant and distinguished outpost in an almost unchartered domain".

Such acclaim aside, the film quickly sank into obscurity. By I943 original nitrate prints of BECKY SHARP were unavailable. The film was reissued in 16mm which used the inferior two colour Cinecolour process. 35mm prints were also reissued, however they had had 18 minutes cut from the original 84 minutes running time. By the time prints were made available to television in I958, only a black and white, I6mm cut version remained.

Robert Gitt from UCLA Film Archives and Richard Dayton of YCM Laboratory, undertook to restore the film. This work was complicated because the three-strip Technicolor process yields three separate negatives lone for each colour) and a soundtrack. A full set of negatives for only 40 minutes of the film could be found. Three years later, restored to its original beauty. BECKY SHARP can now stand alongside other major archival restoration projects . . . NAPOLEON and the 1954 version of A STAR IS BORN.

See also...


Love Me Tonight (1932) has been described as Rouben Mamoulian's first flawless masterpiece. This musical is based on a play by Leopold Marchand and Paul Armont. The screenplay was written by Samuel ... More »


In 1934 playwright, novelist, and screenwriter Ben Hecht persuaded Paramount to back him and his frequent collaborator, Charles MacArthur, in their own production company, which they set up in ... More »


As a bonus adjunct to our Festival highlight, Preston Sturges: Tlie Rise And Fall Of An American Dreamer, we are delighted to be screening a brand new 35mm print of the last film to be scripted by ... More »


TOLL OF THE SEA complements the screening at this year's festival of BECKY SHARP, the cinema's first three-colour::.;..: Technicolor feature. TOLL OF THE SEA is the first two-colour Technicolor ... More »


The ground-breaking, irresistible 1949 MGM musical On The Town brings song, and most especially dance, out from the ballroom and into the streets, fulfilling the creative vision of the film's ... More »


Resurrected after 25 years in Frank Sinatra's vaults John Frankenheimer's long-suppressed political satire still stimulates audiences with its verve, dash and morally pointed wit. ... Contrary to ... More »

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