Film Score Monthly
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Aug 26, 2013 - 7:48 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

Although the idea of bringing color to films originally in b/w is appalling to many, there are many who do enjoyed the process. I found KING KONG to be one of the better ones done over the years However as for the level of improving a film. SON OF KONG was the best. For years the worn out b/w print made it nearly impossible to see the great effects of WILLS O BRIAN. Have a favorite?

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 4:04 AM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

I remember the efforts of the late 80's/early 90's in colourising classic films...MOSTLY hideously done, but for the tech that was around at the time? Well...I guess they had some sort of audience...

....but so glad that technology has improved so much that the recent release of the colourised It Came From Beneath The Sea is very, very well done...very easy to forget very quickly that it wasn't a colour film, and I can heartily recommend the excellent box set that contains it -> - also having Earth Vs The Flying Saucers and 20 Million Miles to Earth - all three films a treat.

Another one that stands out is one of my favourite films of all time - The Thing From Another World - I screamed "Sacrilege" when this was to be colourised, but have to admit that the results are really very good...again, easy to forget that we are watching a colourised movie.

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 3:13 PM   
 By:   Mark R. Y.   (Member)

I'd be far more interested in seeing a number of color films get a "monochromized" treatment.

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 3:46 PM   
 By:   Mike_J   (Member)

Hate colourisation. I'd rather see black and white movies converted to 3D.

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 4:08 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

I'd be far more interested in seeing a number of color films get a "monochromized" treatment.

This happened regularly with reissues of Technicolor films in the late '40s-early'50s, particularly with Fox films. (Some years ago, they even made a mistake of pulling up the B&W negative of the Technicolor TO THE SHORES OF TRIPOLI and issued this B&W version on DVD---until everyone screamed.) So, you're way behind the times in considering
the "monochromizing" of Technicolor films.

But, since you seem to have an interest in this idea, how many of these Fox color films have you seen in Black-and-White, and did you like them? Did you have any objection to the commercial reasons and incentives for doing this?

Earlier than that, when David O. Selznick's partners released two of his 1930s 3-color Technicolor films to Film Classics in the 1940s (A STAR IS BORN, NOTHING SACRED) they, along with RKO's BECKY SHARP were turned into 2-color CineColor prints, thus missing the full-color spectrum of the originals.

It's also interesting that people are also far more complimentary about the full-color reissue prints of REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE than the desaturated, nearly monochromatic original-release prints "approved by the cameraman and director". smile Funny about that inconsistency.....

"Colorization" (a trademarked name, by the way), has been going on since the dawn of films, with tinting and toning, the beautiful Pathe hand-stenciling frame-by-frame process, and many others. The truth is that no one really wanted Black-and-White---they were simply stuck with it and made the best of it, often very creatively. Many years ago, I once read an article discussing the history of photography (perhaps it was the Journal of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain) and in it the author felt that if simple B&W technology hadn't been a necessary step in the development of color images, no one would have even imagined it or thought of it as a final medium. B&W was simplistic and unnatural and, in these formative years, they were all striving for the color possibilities right from the beginning.

What is happening now, of course, is that the 25-50 major B&W films of each studio get restored, remastered and endlessly re-cycled on the various video media, while the other hundreds and hundreds of B&W films in each library do not get the benefit of these kinds of budgets and are slowly mouldering away, once again, because the younger crowd simply doesn't want to watch them or buy them on video. And all the lecturing about the magic of B&W in university film classes won't change their minds overall. They live in an all-color world.

But, as the "colorizing" processes improve---the stability of the color, the selection and design of the individual colors, the ability to blend colors within a given area, the steadiness of the tracking of action within the scene, and the myriad of point-by-point colors within any given scene---"colorizing" becomes more viable each year as a means of making the B&W library more valuable to its contemporary audience AND PARTICULARLY, by allowing those films to be re-copyrighted and maintained in the library for another 100-or-so years without falling into public domain. Ted Turner's concept was correct---he was just correct too early! smile

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 4:13 PM   
 By:   Doc Loch   (Member)

In answer to the question posed by the thread title, there is no such thing.

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 4:20 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

"Reefer Madness".

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 4:21 PM   
 By:   Mark R. Y.   (Member)

My post was a smartass comment, of course (although it is interesting to play the mental game of "which color films would work well in b&w?"), but, as always, I appreciate the background info, Manderley. smile

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 5:11 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

My post was a smartass comment, of course (although it is interesting to play the mental game of "which color films would work well in b&w?"), but, as always, I appreciate the background info, Manderley. smile

Mark R. Y.......I kinda' assumed you were trying to stir things up a bit, but I succumbed to the opportunity to turn it into a learning moment here on the board. We need more posters doing that to educate us all in their particular interests!!!

Actually, your question in this post is interesting, and I can sort of answer it.

There is a vast difference between the way Hollywood pictures are lit today and the way they were lit in the Golden Age. The Technicolor films of the past had, as their cameramen, the same ones who interchangeably photographed B&W films in any given year. So---within their individual styles---the style of the lighting in, say, a Robert Surtees Technicolor film didn't change much from his work on a B&W film. As a result, you could take a Surtees Technicolor film and print it in B&W and there would not be much difference.

I think this is why, recently on the NIGHT OF THE HUNTER thread here, someone pointed out that the cameraman, Stanley Cortez, had wished that the film had been shot in color. He believed it could be very dramatic, like B&W, if he'd been allowed to do it.

Everyone was shocked by his assertion here, but certainly his work on CHINATOWN, before he was replaced, points to this believability. [Cortez was never replaced on films because of the quality of his work. He was replaced because he could be slow and finicky and arrogant and difficult.] Even John Alton---the most revered film noir cameraman---has scenes in the ballet of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS which could easily be pulled out, printed in B&W, and they would look like a typical Alton "noir" sequence.

The reverse is not true today. There are very, very few color films today which could be printed in B&W and look great. The color lighting concepts are totally different and don't lend themselves to B&W, whereas the old lighting concepts were very similar.

(I suppose here is the place to also point out that the 1958 British-made John Ford film, GIDEON OF SCOTLAND YARD [aka- GIDEON'S DAY] was photographed in color, and printed in Technicolor for English release, but printed in B&W for US release by Columbia.)

In the very early 1950s, Dore Schary embarked on his program of making half his yearly schedule of productions at MGM in full Technicolor with upper-level budgets, and the other half productions of noir, dramatic, message, or romantic films in B&W at considerably reduced budgets from the upper-tier.

John Arnold, one of MGM's top cameramen from the early 1920s had stayed on at the studio and finally became head of the camera department. In this early 1950s period, two single-strand color processes came to the fore---Ansco Color and Eastman Color---and they could each be photographed in MGM's standard Mitchell B&W cameras and developed and printed in MGM's own lab on the lot, thus bypassing Technicolor. Arnold suggested to Schary that the year's program of these lower-budget B&W films should be shot in color and then, once cut and assembled, the studio could decide, with the marketing department, whether they wished to release them in color or B&W.

It is obvious that Arnold also saw the handwriting on the wall as regards television and its usage of the library, eventually in full color. If they had done this then a far greater percentage of the back library would today be available in color for broadcast or video release.

But Schary didn't.

(I wonder here if everyone realizes that nearly every feature film and video and TV commercial today is worked over with varying degrees of colorization to obtain that final hot "look" that everyone is striving for each day...... "Colorization" is not gone---it is just more cleverly concealed from its detractors. smile )

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 5:24 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

I've never cared for colorized films. I've seen some that were technically well done (as Mr. Greg mentioned, I remember The Thing not being that bad), but I just prefer seeing them as they were originally shot.

That said, I do find the process of colorization fascinating, because it just seems so complicated with so much visual information that's almost always in motion.

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 5:30 PM   
 By:   Mark R. Y.   (Member)

I'm reminded that the Coen brothers and DP Roger Deakins shot THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE in (delicate) color, and had it printed in b&w. Both versions are thrilling to the eye:

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 5:46 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

I was surprised to find I really enjoyed the color version of HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL-59-sometimes they just know how to blend the colors in right like IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA, it looks like a film that is so natural being in color. Same with EARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS.

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 7:40 PM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

My favorite de-colorized film is the B&W version of The Mist. smile

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 9:03 PM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

My favorite de-colorized film is the B&W version of The Mist. smile

Thumbs up x 100.

I have seen the 50's version of The Fly shown in B/W a couple of times...I wonder why that might be...(and no, I wasn't watching it on a black and white telly....smartarse....)

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 9:07 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

I don't think I've seen any colorized and if I knew before getting it that I had a choice I would avoid it like the plague. I watch movies in their original format and so if they were originally B&W that is how I watch it or not at all. Plus some B&W movies look better than some old color films.

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 9:10 PM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

Plus some B&W movies look better than some old color films.

Oh amen...absolutely...from my first post above, on no occasion would I prefer to watch the colourised (spell it correctly, people wink ) version over the B/W...just saying the option is there...and of course, with DVD/BD you can buy both at the same time....bargain!

 Posted:   Aug 27, 2013 - 9:46 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

I remember all the hubbub when Ted Turner first colorized Casablanca and people like Woody Allen went before Congress to decry this "bastardization" of the original black and white prints . But of course all that protesting was for naught -- except some filmmakers have it in their contracts that their b/w features can never be colored .

Nothing detrimental happened to the original negatives, as the Warner Archive(which owns the Turner Library) can attest . Most of those early 80s - 90s efforts were in the main not that good but some were interesting. BABES IN TOYLAND was one I enjoyed - and now I actually prefer the color version on BR - which is a 2nd colorization and much improved over the 1st attempt . ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE on BR also has a new colorization that looks much better than the 1st attempt but in this case, the original B/W works better - it's a film noir Christmas film. I also liked the colorized HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME '39 -- it 's far from perfect and I still prefer the original but I enjoyed seeing it in color.

There are a number of late 20s and 30s films Id like to see in color . Most of the DeMille Paramont b/w features cry out for color - he didnt make a Technicolor feature until 1940's NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICE . Some films planned originally to be filmed in color weren't because cost prevented it. One famous example was Errol Flynn's THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER - from color photos Ive seen of the production, it would have been impressive (similar to ROBIN HOOD). Another that would have looked spectacular would have been GUNGA DIN - of which color home movies attest. Now of course, I know that colorization will never reproduce actual color photgraphy , but as manderley suggests , techniques continue to improve and who knows what will be possible in the future.

 Posted:   Aug 28, 2013 - 4:25 AM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

Anything by George Melies. Nothing by computer.

 Posted:   Aug 29, 2013 - 4:02 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

Anything by George Melies. Nothing by computer.

If Melies were alive today, I think that he would use every innovation that movies can utilize including color by computer and 3-D.

 Posted:   Aug 29, 2013 - 5:07 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

"Colorized History"

.....important iconic and historical photos by Dorothea Lange and others---
colorized---and now collected by the Library of Congress.

A search of the internet reveals that hundreds, thousands, of artists are
independently working on this overall project and I, for one, think much of
what they are doing is spectacular, thoughtful, and casts these sometimes
boring images in colorful and often revealing new light.

Some of these images---like the overview of a civil war Nashville, and the front
porch of a North Carolina country store in 1939---are absolutely beautiful and
carefully and thoughtfully rendered into color. I'm glad I'm not so old and grumpy
that I can't accept this new technology and its artists when used in a creative and
thoughtful way.

You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2018 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.