Few cinematic processes can re-create the effect of a good acid trip as well as Technicolor. The Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation did more than simply bring color to the silver screen: It brought, like, unnatural, oversaturated colors, man. Unfortunately, given the expensive nature of the process, it might have been more profitable for theaters to just give hallucinogenic drugs to the audience and let them stare at a blank screen. The three films in the National Gallery of Art’s “In Glorious Technicolor” series—Frank Borzage’s I’ve Always Loved You, John M. Stahl’s Leave Her to Heaven, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s The Barefoot Contessa—all utilized the later three-strip process developed in the early ’30s. Though successful, the process required the use of bulky cameras and oppressively hot studio lighting—which left many an actor the wrong kind of baked.
The series runs to Sunday, March 30, at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th St. & Constitution Ave. NW. Free. (202) 737-4215; see nga.gov/programs/film for a complete schedule.