Surfing around, Mike, I found evidence that you are correct. Pierre Chenal's CRIME AND PUNISHMENT seems available only in b & w.
His NATIVE SON would have been of interest, one would think, to Orson Welles, given his 1941 staging of the play based on the novel.
Chenal appears to have been an artist rather like Welles. He started big and slid into a decline, some of his finest films butchered. NATIVE SON, for instance, when funding in the United States was not forthcoming, French financial sources turned him away, too, and he was forced to go to Buenas Aires to shoot the film. The minor players and extras are non-professionals, and most of the known cast had unhappy careers. The film was cut from almost two hours to 87 minutes when brought to the U.S. According to Richard Corliss in Time Magazine, which lists it #1 among films about race, the footage has never been restored: http://entertainment.time.com/2008/02/0 ... e-son-1951