How the red flag appeared in black and white

Many film historians claim that color cinematography appeared in our country in 1925, when the legendary film by Sergei Eisenstein, The Battleship Potemkin, was released on Soviet screens. In it, on the mast of the rebellious battleship, a red flag appeared, raised by the rebellious sailors. But, these frames have a very interesting story. The release of the film was timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the first Russian revolution. The script for the film was written by Nina Agadzhanova, and the shooting was entrusted to the young director Sergei Eisenstein. It would, of course, be great to shoot on the battleship itself, but by that time it was impossible.

The vessel was in a deplorable state, it was written off and was being prepared for scrapping. I had to use another battleship, "The Twelve Apostles", however, the props had to work hard on it to make it look like the "Potemkin". And the interior was filmed on the Komintern cruiser. Filming took place in an emergency mode: work began in August 1925, and by December the film crew was required to present the film to the expert committee. Moreover, the culmination of the picture was to be a red flag proudly flying over the battleship. In the era of black and white cinema, this was almost impossible, the red flag on the screen would turn to black. Then the director found an original way out: they used a white cloth in the filming, and then began to paint.

On the copy of the film, 108 frames were processed in red ink, and the flag turned out to be truly red. It is not surprising that during the demonstration of "Battleship" Potemkin "in cinemas, this caused a real delight of the audience. It is interesting that the film, despite its revolutionary theme, was very popular not only in the Soviet Union. Already in 1926, Sergei Eisenstein's painting was noted at the Paris World Exhibition. He was repeatedly called by film critics among the best films of all times and peoples. In the Soviet Union, only in the first days of the film demonstration, the picture was watched by more than 300 00 people, for that time the figure was huge, there were not so many cinemas. By the way, even the ideologue of the Third Reich, Goebbels, praised the film, saying that after watching the film, many could become convinced Bolsheviks. In the Soviet Union, at the end of the twenties, the film was censored: in the prologue, Trotsky's words were replaced by Leninist quotes.