From the mid-1910s to the early 1930s, the Technicolor company invented three different technical processes for colour lm, all based on two colours. This innovation was marked by many set-backs, before the now famous Technicolor No. IV dye transfer process was introduced in 1932. This article describes the technical and economic struggle during this early period of colour lms that is largely unknown to the general audience. Based on the investigation of numerous historical lm prints in European and American lm archives, the author analyses the colour design and aesthetics of these lms and relates these insights to the technical properties of the processes, including the challenges for the digitisation of these rare and precious lms.