|Negative for exhibitor-created slide advertising A House Divided (1931)|
Today's example comes by the way of A House Divided, a 1931 early talkie directed by William Wyler and starring Walter Huston, Douglass Montgomery, and Helen Chandler. I came across this particular slide in the guise of a photographic glass negative. It is unknown to me whether the slide produced from the negative still exists, but it seems unlikely given that perhaps only one positive was ever struck.
|Reversed image of slide negative for A House Divided.|
My initial interest in the negative was due to the Walter Houston's striking profile, but it wasn't until I scanned the slide and reversed the image that the technique for manufacturing the slide became clear. The graphic layout is a pasteboard collage of text and image appropriated from another source - probably the exhibitor guide for the film. The pasteboard was then tacked to a board and photographed. All this becomes clear in the positive image in which the cut-out nature of the photo and text are more obvious, as is the prominence of the tacks at the pasteboard corner and the grain on the underlying wood mounting.
|Mock-up of how exhibitor-created slide for A House Divided may have appeared.|
Lacking the actual slide produced from this negative, I can only guess at how the resulting final product would have looked, but using PhotoShop I have created an informed approximation based on certain reasonable assumptions. First, the image would have been masked to conceal the tacks and the wood mounting. It is also fair to assume that the positive slide would have been developed at fairly high contrast to darken the background.
|Walter Huston in A House Divided (1931)|
|Poster for A House Divided (1931)|
Beyond that, color is the big question mark. Was it colored? If so, what colors were used?
For my mock-up I used colors from other slides of the era in hopes getting the palette right. I could also have tried to adapt colors from the poster (right), but I just can't believe that the person that handcrafted this slide would have gone with blue coloring for Huston's face.
Of course, you are free to disagree.