A Technicolor Film Test of Mary Pickford. (1926)

The original can containing the nitrate camera negative of this film was labeled “Pickford and Fairbanks Technicolor Test.” This film is Pickford’s costume, hair and makeup color test for her very small, but important role in The Black Pirate (1926.) Although Pickford was not cast in the film, she stood in for leading lady Billie Dove in one key scene: A kiss with real-life husband Fairbanks on the deck of his ship at the film’s finale. The color system featured here, Technicolor Process No. 2, demonstrated a leap forward in terms of technology and was considered far superior to other color techniques of the time. Difficulties with the thickness of the prints, caused by red and green positive images glued together back to back, shrinkage, and adhesive problems, made it difficult to keep the film in focus and the search for a stable, life-like color film system continued.