“Two-colour additive process
Talkicolor was developed by Percy James Pearce along with Dr Anthony Bernardi who was also involved in the development of Raycol. The process was funded mainly by the author Elinor Glyn through her company Elinor Glyn Ltd, run by her daughter Juliet Evangeline Williams and her husband Sir Rhys Williams, assisted by her other daughter, Lady Margot Davson, all of whom were also involved in the development of Morganacolor. In 1929 Glyn decided to adapt one of her novels, Knowing Men, into a sound film. She had previously adapted it for silent film and so hired writer Edward Knoblock to rework the silent scenario for sound. The film, to be produced by a small syndicate company called Talking and Sound Films Ltd, was due to start shooting on 1 October 1929 and, by August, Glyn was considering malting the film in colour, entering into discussions with Maurice Elvey and Raycol. Raycol agreed not only to allow Glyn to use the process free of charge but also to fund die production in order to publicise their process. By September this arrangement had broken down. Elvey insisted upon producing, a role that Glyn was doing herself, while Glyn insisted that the film be available in both colour and black and white, a decision with which Elvey did not agree. Lady Williams hired lawyers who found the Raycol patents to be unreliable. Looking around for an alternative, Rhys Williams signed a deal in September with Bernardi for the rights to use Talkicolor for two films, Knowing Men and The Price of Things (both 1931). Bernardi was bought out of his contract with Raycol and hired to develop the process, and a company, Talkicolor Ltd, was formally set up in September 1929, backed by Elinor Glyn Ltd.
The process used a bipack film in the camera. The front layer was sensitised to blue light and dyed orange to prevent blue and green rays from passing through to the second emulsion which recorded the red portion of the spectrum. The two negatives were separated and then printed successively onto positive stock, so that each frame of the red record alternated with each frame of the blue record. The film was then projected at double speed through an alternating red and clear filter, the red record being projected through the red filter, the blue-green record being projected through a clear filter. An alternate projection method was also suggested to dye the red record red, and to leave the blue-green record black and white. Which version was actually used is not known.”
(Brown, Simon (2012): Technical Appendix. In: Sarah Street: Colour Films in Britain. The Negotiation of Innovation 1900-55. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 259-287, on pp. 283-284.)
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Original Technical Papers and Primary Sources
BT 31/33126/242400 Talkicolor Company Ltd, 1929, National Archives.
Elinor Glyn Collection, University of Reading Special Collections (UoR MS 4059).
Rhys Williams Collection, London School of Economics British Library of Political and Economic Science (Rhys_Williams_J_16/2/1, 16/2/2, 16/2/3).
Brown, Simon (2012): Technical Appendix. In: Sarah Street: Colour Films in Britain. The Negotiation of Innovation 1900-55. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 259-287, on pp. 283–284.
Street, Sarah (2012): Colour Films in Britain. The Negotiation of Innovation 1900-55. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, on p. 39.