A Firework of Colours

Grand Display of Brock’s Fireworks at the Crystal Palace
(Festa pirotecnica nel cielo di Londra)
R: George Albert Smith. P: Charles Urban Trading Company. UK 1904

“The Brock’s Fireworks Ltd celebrates its fortieth anniversary by organizing a truly explosive show. The technique of the colors painted directly on the film print turns out perfect to display a spectacular fireworks show.
The video is a copy from the film print held by the Museo Nazionale del Cinema: 35mm, positive, polyester, 82 m, colour (from a tinted and toned nitrate print).”
Museo Nazionale del Cinema di Torino

“Fireworks in general might be seen as a kind of abstract art, and here, the applied hues standing out against dark backgrounds give them an appealing unreal quality. The second half of the film shifts its focus to more representational light displays: a naval battle, a cockfight, firemen trying to extinguish a blaze, portraits of then-king Edward VII and his wife Alexandra.”
Cinematic Scribblings

“A truly beautiful example of early cinematic colour tinting, displayed at a fireworks display that was put on show at the now destroyed Crystal Palace. True this wasn’t the first display of colour in an early piece of film (There are countless examples in the year preceding this) but director George Albert Smith manages to capture all of the explosive wonder of seeing such dazzling fireworks with such a meticulous sense of detail, to the point where this almost feels like an abstract piece of modern art. It’s a truly breathtaking little gem, that’s far more than just a interesting little curio which some people have made it out to be.”
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>>> George A. Smith’s Colour Experiments on this website