Duty to Cargo revisited

18 Jul

Thanks once again to the request of a far-flung researcher who requested a copy of the one existing print of this film in the University of Oregon’s 16mm collection, Duty to Cargo (c1939) is now available online. This is one of those orphan films that is not all that compelling to watch, but all the contextual information around it makes it very interesting.


The thorough Iris Bull documented it elsewhere on this blog, but it’s also worth noting that the film was produced in Cosmocolor, a process developed in 1938 by the industrial film company Wilding Picture Productions, and described in more technical detail in Business Screen. Cosmocolor was Wilding’s solution to bringing down the cost of producing industrial films in color. “Commercial producers have been holding a finger on the pulse of American advertisers long enough to realize that it doesn’t take much argument to convince potential clients of the advantages of color in advertising films…something had to be done to bring color to a point where it could as readily be used as black and white from the viewpoint of cost, mobility and production.” I don’t know enough about the use of color in advertising and industrial films from the 1930s to know how many were produced in color at this time, but 1939 was still relatively early for the use of color in motion pictures in any genre.

More Wilding films are available courtesy of the Prelinger Archives on the Internet Archive. Other Wilding titles I’d love to see: The Cheese Family Album (1949), Knucklehead (also from 1949, “a training film for service station owners and attendants”), and Time for Living (1949), which features “a demonstration of modern laundry service.”

4 Responses to “Duty to Cargo revisited”

  1. V.E.G. May 7, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    Cool! In Cosmocolor! The Holy Grail of Colors!

  2. V.E.G. May 7, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    Cosmocolor was responsible in some movies:
    Isle of Destiny
    Western Welcome
    Fashion Takes a Holiday
    Wings Over the Golden Gate
    Land’s End
    Unknown Title (Ivory Coast)
    Duty to Cargo

  3. V.E.G. August 14, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    Motor Styles of 1939 is yet another Cosmocolor movie! Amazing!

  4. V.E.G. August 19, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    Man! The Ninth State (also known as New Hampshire) is yet another Cosmocolor movie! Amazing!

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