Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Technicolour Veteran -- Bernard Coombs

I've stated several times before that I listen to various international broadcasters. This morning, the following story came up in my RSS feed from Radio New Zealand:

The Technicolour Veteran -- Bernard Coombs

It's hard to articulate just what an impact technicolour had on cinema audiences when it was first introduced in the 1930s and 40s. Technicolour was the process of colouring motion picture negative from black and white into colour and it was celebrated for its saturated levels of colour - giving films such as 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Gone with the Wind' their characteristic style. One man who knows all too well about the magic of technicolour is Bernard Coombs of Wanganui, the 96-year-old started work at the Technicolour Motion Picture Company when he left school and apart from a six-year hiatus during the Second World War - he worked with the company all his life.

One thing that's mildly humorous is Radio New Zealand's repeated misspelling of Technicolor, by putting the British English U in it. Technicolor was (and still is) a company name, so the ending showld be "-color", without the U. Indeed, if you watch British movies from the late 1930s and the 1940s that were filmed in color, they'll have a credit somewhere in the opening credits that says "Colour [with the British U] by Technicolor [without the British U]". There's also a credit for Natalie Kalmus as consultant; this is something she got on every Technicolor movie, regardless of how much consulting she did. I can't believe she did much consulting in the UK during World War II. It's nice to be married to the founder of the company, though.

I have to admit that I haven't listened to the interview yet, so I can't commment on the interview itself. There's also no transcript available, so you'll have to download the audio file. The MP3 file is about 4.5 MB and 12:30 in length; the direct link is here.

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