Was it cellulose acetate or cellulose nitrate (nitrocellulose) that was the problem? Nitrocellulose was quite widely used in the early years of the 1900s.
I imagine cellulose acetate can burn but, nitrocellulose is also known as gun cotton and burns with vigour!
Without the addition of carbamite or another stabiliser, the decomposition products of nitrocellulose accumulate quite quickly making film go brownish – so colour film would really suffer.
Didnt some types of billiard ball made from nitrocellulose during the 20’s have a similar issue? I have a vague memory nitrocellulose was used as a coating for playing cards as well at some point.