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Doing Women's Film HistoryReframing Cinemas, Past and Future$
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Julia Knight and Christine Gledhill

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039683

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039683.001.0001

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A Suitable Job for a Woman

A Suitable Job for a Woman

Color and the Work of Natalie Kalmus

Chapter:
(p.206) Chapter 14 A Suitable Job for a Woman
Source:
Doing Women's Film History
Author(s):

Sarah Street

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252039683.003.0016

This chapter examines Natalie Kalmus's role as an ambassador for Technicolor Corporation during the 1930s and 1940s. Kalmus became involved in Technicolor through her husband Herbert Kalmus, who founded the company in 1915 with Daniel Comstock and W. Burton Westcott. She was credited as “color consultant” on most Technicolor films from the late 1920s to 1949. Drawing on her papers by the Margaret Herrick Library in Los Angeles, this chapter considers Kalmus's record and somewhat controversial legacy as a woman commanding an extremely important place in the history of color film. It explores how, as a public figure and advocate of color, Kalmus wielded influence beyond film production, advising women to wear particular colors to go with their hair and mood. It shows that Kalmus was exemplary of a mode of employment created and perpetuated by gendered assumptions about color expertise.

Keywords:   Technicolor films, Natalie Kalmus, Technicolor Corporation, Herbert Kalmus, color film, gender, color expertise

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