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The Open Road

The Open Road U rating

Startling colour photography of 1920s Britain imbues Claude Friese-Greene’s 1920s road trip around Britain.

Travelogue 2006 65 mins

Overview

A modern compilation of the footage shot by Claude Friese-Greene on his trip around 1920s Britain, in the fabulous colour of his own experimental process. Claude continued the work of his father, cinema pioneer William Friese-Greene, and marketed his “new all British Friese-Greene natural colour process” through this 26-part travelogue of Britain, reaching from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

The colour was captured on black and white film by means of a disc of coloured filters which rotated in front of the camera. Once processed the images on the film were alternately tinted red or blue/green. When projected at a higher than usual speed a perception of colour was achieved. The process was deeply flawed – distracting colour fringing on fast moving objects, and contemporary developments with early versions of Technicolor and other systems soon rendered it obsolete. And yet this restored version, using modern digital technology, brings the beauty of Friese-Greene’s photography to light.