Underground Film Journal

Posted In » Online Cinema

The Death Of Film

By Mike Everleth ⋅ December 30, 2010

Any talk today, December 30, 2010, about the “death of film” is more than just idle speculation. Back in 2009, Kodak stopped manufacturing Kodachrome, their legendary still and motion picture film. Since then, Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas, has been able to keep processing the Kodachrome film that photographers and cinematographers had hoarded before the discontinuation. But, today is the last day ever they will continue to do that. To honor this sad occasion, embedded above is one of the first ever Kodachrome motion picture tests, made in 1922.

To be absolutely clear, though, Dwayne’s Photo will continue to be in operation past today, developing other types of film! They are not going out of business. It’s just that they will finally run out of the special chemicals it takes for Kodachrome to be developed properly. When those chemicals are gone, the film can no longer be processed. So, if you still have hoarded-up rolls lying around your studio, well, you’re shit out of luck after today.

According to Kodak’s blog, the film above are tests from 1922, made 13 years before the first color feature film was ever produced. (That would be Becky Sharp in 1935.) The test was shot at the Paragon Studios in Fort Lee, NY and features actresses Mae Murray, Hope Hampton, Mary Eaton and an unidentified woman and child.

To understand a little bit more about what made Kodachrome so special, the CBS Sunday Morning program ran a news story about it, although they claim Dec. 30 is Friday. The news story also only focuses on still photography, but no more Super 8, Double 8 or 16mm motion picture Kodachrome film will be processed ever again. The news segment is embedded below:

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