The Thirties in Colour - Season 1 Episode 1 - A World Away (16 July 2008)
The Thirties in Colour - A World Away (Ep 1/4)
Wed 16 July 2008 9pm to 10pm BBC4
Newman criss-crossed the globe and, along the way, she managed to shoot some of the most important colour documentary footage of the period. The Thirties In Colour is a new, four-part series depicting a decade that erupted into colour. During that time, polychromatic photographic technology came of age and, in the years 1931-37, three important processes – Dufaycolour, Technicolor and Kodachrome – were patented and brought to the market. This modern history series brings viewers rare, private and commercial film unearthed from private collections, as well as photographic archives from around the world, to bring poignant and surprising insights into this pivotal and fascinating decade. Many of the early colour documentary images were shot by intrepid travellers, cultural anthropologists, professional photo-journalists and documentary film-makers who traversed the globe in the years just before the Second World War. Featuring interviews with the surviving film-makers, and those who knew them, as well as contributions from anthropologists and cultural historians who specialise in the period, the series gives a unique insight into an age before mass tourism, the spread of Western cultural values, global industrialisation and, most pertinently, the destructive power of a world war – one that utterly transformed the destiny of individuals and nations all over the world. Today's opener looks at the work of socialite Rosie Newman. The daughter of a wealthy financier, Newman was an amateur film-maker who used her high society contacts to secure extraordinary access to the social elite. Between 1928 and her retirement in the Sixties, Newman criss-crossed the globe and, along the way, she managed to shoot some of the most important colour documentary footage of the period. Some of her colour films have been seen before, but The Thirties In Colour features some of Newman's work that has never been broadcast and has not been seen publicly for over 70 years. So much is known about the Forties and the Second World War that the Thirties are often forgotten. Yet it was a pivotal decade that saw not only a world-wide financial meltdown and great political upheaval, but also the march towards the modern-day society and the invention of technologies that are taken for granted today. It was also a period that erupted in colour as polychromatic photographic technologies came of age. For the first time, wealthy amateur film-makers could capture the world in authentic colours that really depicted what they saw around them. The Thirties In Colour, a new four-part series for BBC Four, draws upon the world's treasuries of extremely rare colour documentary films – many of which are from private archives and have never been seen before on television – to bring powerful, poignant and often surprising insights into this crucial decade in world history.
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