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Old 06-11-2007, 00:28   #41
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When it comes to colorization, I don't give a damn if it's high quality or low quality. The very process is an abomination that should draw the wrath of any self-respecting movie fan.
To think that the crayoning in of B/W movies will introduce these pictures to a wider audience is nothing short of a delusion. Those who dismiss or refuse to watch a film because it is B/W are generally using this as a convenient excuse - the truth is that their objection is to watching old movies; colorized images won't convert them .

If a movie was shot on B/W stock then that's how it should be presented - period.
Absolutely. Aspect ratio anal-retentives will probably tell themselves this release is okay, when it's really one of the worst things they could possibly support on DVD. The only thing consoling me is that it's highly doubtful colorization will become a trend like it did twenty or so years ago. This release is a horrific anomaly.

The sad irony is that Jimmy Stewart went to Congress in 1988 and made a speech against colorization. The NY Times quoted a letter he read from Frank Capra: "Of the coloring of ''It's a Wonderful Life,'' Mr. Capra wrote: 'They ruined it. They splashed it all over with Easter-egg colors and they ruined it. This monstrosity is an embarrassment to me and my friend, James Stewart. Even the villain looks pink and cheerful.'"
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Old 06-11-2007, 10:07   #42
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However ,colorisation technology has come a long way.

Bewitched seasons 1 and 2 now look as if they were made in color.

The recent release of Harryhausens 20 Million Miles To Earth was also superb quality.
You can't be serious? I got the 20MMTE SE recently (I know I shouldn't encourage them, but I'd never seen the film and wanted to see the B&W original at its best). When I glanced at the 'colour' version out of morbid curiosity, it was just dreadful. Looks like someone puked on it.

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Old 06-11-2007, 11:37   #43
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I know this is a massively unpopular opinion amongst many cineastes but I have no problems whatsoever with the colorisation process providing it does in no way substantially affect the release process of original materials.

I cannot think of an instance where it has, so I'm in the 'choice is good' camp. Looking at those caps on Beaver will tell anyone with a refined optic nerve in their head that the process has substantially moved on in leaps and bounds since the 80s. I think some of those captures have an artistic integrity of their own (in that a team of clearly talented people have sat down and created reasonably authentic looking and balanced frames of artificial colour). It appears to me rather more like looking at a vintage postcard from the period than a colour feature film but it is still fascinating stuff imo, nonetheless.

I don't agree with the view that classic material should not be tampered with. There are a great many talented international experimental filmmakers working with footage from classic sources, reinterpreting it in different ways to create fresh works of art and I think in a bizarre way that is exactly what colorisation does. It's an abstraction of the source material which can create shifts in emphasis, tone and even meaning in some cases. Whether this is a good thing or not is up for debate, I think it is. It is not an altogether different argument to sampling debate in the music industry and in that case some artists embrace the practice while others condemn it (or make it very expensive).

It doesn't suprise me at all that a director like Capra (who I admire enormously but who was rather a conservative man in many ways) wasn't fond of colorisation. For starters what he was reacting to the early process, which to put it bluntly was rather unrefined and gimmicky. I'm sure there are other filmmakers either don't mind it or who accept it as I do, but as long as the first point I made is adhered to, I don't think it should be their choice really.

I would certainly be in favour of a more relaxed attitude to copyright law with regard to film images in general - for instance everything would become public domain with regard to artistic use after 10 years - but realistically I appreciate that ain't ever going to happen.
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Old 06-11-2007, 11:49   #44
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I just saw the screen shots from the link eariler and i have to say i'm completely blown away!

It's almost looks like it was orignally made that way! It doesn't mean i think colourization is a good thing. as long as the original b/w version is the main feature and the colour version is seen as a bonus then i don't mind if they do this. heck i might watch it a few times!
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Old 06-11-2007, 13:14   #45
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I don't agree with the view that classic material should not be tampered with. There are a great many talented international experimental filmmakers working with footage from classic sources, reinterpreting it in different ways to create fresh works of art and I think in a bizarre way that is exactly what colorisation does. It's an abstraction of the source material which can create shifts in emphasis, tone and even meaning in some cases.
I feel like I've fallen asleep and woken up on April 1st!
The talent, or lack of it, on the part of those colorizing movies has nothing to do with it. We're talkiing about altering someone's work - perverting their vision; whether this is done skilfully or not does not change the fact that it is just plain wrong.
As for such actions creating something fresh, well, to me this is the very epitome of staleness.

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It doesn't suprise me at all that a director like Capra (who I admire enormously but who was rather a conservative man in many ways) wasn't fond of colorisation.
How does this relate to the question? Whether or not Capra was conservative in outlook does not give anyone the right to stand in judgment over the validity of his clearly expressed desires regarding the exhibition of his work.


Where does such tampering end if we choose to go down this road? Do we rewrite and redub some dialogue to jazz up that old-fashioned phrasing for the benefit of a modern audience?
What about some of those creaky, bombastic old scores? Shall we record a new "urban" remix to freshen it up?
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Old 06-11-2007, 13:16   #46
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What always concerns me is that, the B&W version is how the millions of people remember it. In this case, the film has been shown in our family for years and years always in B&W and thats why it is so close to my heart.

All I see is by making it colour, it is trying to get maybe new viewers interested which is a real shame. I also feel the same way when films have remastered and some of the dirt and crackle from the sound is lost.

Maybe I'm getting old and more sentimental
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Old 06-11-2007, 14:10   #47
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I feel like I've fallen asleep and woken up on April 1st!
We're talkiing about altering someone's work - perverting their vision; whether this is done skilfully or not does not change the fact that it is just plain wrong.
So would you consider the work of respected filmmakers like Martin Arnold, Peter Tscherkassky or Douglas Gordon to be worthless? A number of critics, including the Turner Prize committee would disagree.

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How does this relate to the question? Whether or not Capra was conservative in outlook does not give anyone the right to stand in judgment over the validity of his clearly expressed desires regarding the exhibition of his work.
The key point here is choice, it is an optional version to the original one. The original should always be the benchmark. I think the point about where it all ends is a fallacy. People will always gravitate to the source. Referring to a few hicks who can't bear to watch black and white films massively overstates their importance in the market, I believe.

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Where does such tampering end if we choose to go down this road? Do we rewrite and redub some dialogue to jazz up that old-fashioned phrasing for the benefit of a modern audience?
What about some of those creaky, bombastic old scores? Shall we record a new "urban" remix to freshen it up?
This is not the same debate at all as remixing 'old' soundtracks (which happens all the time, as I'm sure you know and I don't approve of one bit if they aren't included without the original soundtrack as well).
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Old 06-11-2007, 14:24   #48
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What always concerns me is that, the B&W version is how the millions of people remember it. In this case, the film has been shown in our family for years and years always in B&W and thats why it is so close to my heart.

All I see is by making it colour, it is trying to get maybe new viewers interested which is a real shame. I also feel the same way when films have remastered and some of the dirt and crackle from the sound is lost.

Maybe I'm getting old and more sentimental
A side of me does agree with you (just as old and just as sentimental ).

I only had a black and white television in my room when I was growing up, which I watched countless films on. For years I remembered several famously colourful films only in black and white, to the extent that when I saw some of them in colour for the first time I thought that they just looked wrong to me.

I'm really not sure how my point relates to the discussion though.

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Old 06-11-2007, 20:41   #49
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Hopefully, it's all about maintaining choice for the mass market and niche consumer, so that the colorised and the b&w versions are available on the same disc(s). I suppose that pure b&w DVds (and increasingly HD/Blueray in future) just aren't selling well and if they don't make enough profit, studios won't release them, or worse, stop restoring them. Same is true of alaternate soundtracks.

I do however fear the colorised Birth Of A Nation with the Hip-Hop soundtrack.
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Old 06-11-2007, 21:19   #50
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So would you consider the work of respected filmmakers like Martin Arnold, Peter Tscherkassky or Douglas Gordon to be worthless? A number of critics, including the Turner Prize committee would disagree.
To be perfectly blunt, the opinon of the Turner Prize committee is a matter no consequence to me.
What does matter to me? Integrity. The integrity of the original maker's vision should always be the overriding concern. What you, I or anybody else thinks is an improvement on the director's work is of no importance.
As regards the film under discussion, Capra shot the movie on B/W stock, exhibited it so, and clearly stated his desire that it should continue to be presented in that form. What right does anyone have to say that they know better than the man who made it?



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The key point here is choice, it is an optional version to the original one. The original should always be the benchmark.

This laboring of the word choice is nothing more than spin. If, by some chance, these foul colrizations sell well - what will the result be? Will the suits put those sales down to demand from film fans for dual releases? Will they hell! No, the bean counters are going to assume that the movie shifted more copies because not in spite of the color version. It's no great leap of imagination to see that the next move will be to decide that original B/W transfers are just another unnecessary overhead. Why produce two versions of the same film when head office has reached the conclusion that the crayoned one was the major selling point?

This practice needs to stop, and we need to stop finding excuses for it.
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Old 06-11-2007, 22:54   #51
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Old 06-11-2007, 23:17   #52
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When it comes to colorization, I don't give a damn if it's high quality or low quality. The very process is an abomination that should draw the wrath of any self-respecting movie fan.
To think that the crayoning in of B/W movies will introduce these pictures to a wider audience is nothing short of a delusion. Those who dismiss or refuse to watch a film because it is B/W are generally using this as a convenient excuse - the truth is that their objection is to watching old movies; colorized images won't convert them .

If a movie was shot on B/W stock then that's how it should be presented - period.

I think its you who are deluded.

The fact is that tv shows made in black and white are now being aired in colorised versions ,so if allowing people to watch it rather than leaving it in the vaults is not bringing it to a wider audience then what is?

Why should people make excuses not to watch films?

If they dont want to see them they dont have to?
Saying its because its black and white is a comment heard from all quarters.

Personally I prefer the film how it was made but denying the larger population the chance to watch it in colour just because you dont like the process seems a tad selfish.

Taking your argument to its logical conclusion you must disagree with all forms of film restoration that take old movies and present them without a mark ,speckle of dust or any other picture defect ,something that would most definitely have been on prints in the cinema or on tv.

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Old 06-11-2007, 23:21   #53
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You can't be serious? I got the 20MMTE SE recently (I know I shouldn't encourage them, but I'd never seen the film and wanted to see the B&W original at its best). When I glanced at the 'colour' version out of morbid curiosity, it was just dreadful. Looks like someone puked on it.

You obviously have not seen the colorised versions of IAWL and Laurel and hardy from the 80's.

As the Harryhausen films colorisation was personally supervised by him and the colors were added on his own advice and he is even filmed saying this is how the film would have been seen if not for restricted budget then I'm more than happy to watch it in color.

Unlike the 80's jobbies the modern colorisations look natural and to a complete novice without the B&W version alongside you would not know it was not made in color.

Its a pity the same cant be said for the Laurel and Hardy stuff on the dvd boxset
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Old 06-11-2007, 23:23   #54
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Old 06-11-2007, 23:27   #55
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I know this is a massively unpopular opinion amongst many cineastes but I have no problems whatsoever with the colorisation process providing it does in no way substantially affect the release process of original materials.

I cannot think of an instance where it has, so I'm in the 'choice is good' camp. Looking at those caps on Beaver will tell anyone with a refined optic nerve in their head that the process has substantially moved on in leaps and bounds since the 80s. I think some of those captures have an artistic integrity of their own (in that a team of clearly talented people have sat down and created reasonably authentic looking and balanced frames of artificial colour). It appears to me rather more like looking at a vintage postcard from the period than a colour feature film but it is still fascinating stuff imo, nonetheless.

I don't agree with the view that classic material should not be tampered with. There are a great many talented international experimental filmmakers working with footage from classic sources, reinterpreting it in different ways to create fresh works of art and I think in a bizarre way that is exactly what colorisation does. It's an abstraction of the source material which can create shifts in emphasis, tone and even meaning in some cases. Whether this is a good thing or not is up for debate, I think it is. It is not an altogether different argument to sampling debate in the music industry and in that case some artists embrace the practice while others condemn it (or make it very expensive).

It doesn't suprise me at all that a director like Capra (who I admire enormously but who was rather a conservative man in many ways) wasn't fond of colorisation. For starters what he was reacting to the early process, which to put it bluntly was rather unrefined and gimmicky. I'm sure there are other filmmakers either don't mind it or who accept it as I do, but as long as the first point I made is adhered to, I don't think it should be their choice really.

I would certainly be in favour of a more relaxed attitude to copyright law with regard to film images in general - for instance everything would become public domain with regard to artistic use after 10 years - but realistically I appreciate that ain't ever going to happen.
I agree.

Its a shame that poor quality colorisations are still coming out.
I got the 2 disc The Thing the other week aswell as the Miracle on 34th Street colorisation 2 discer and they are both awful.

However ,both sets offer the B&W originals so its no loss.

A problem with many colorisations is that in the 80's not only was it done on tape (so we ended up with NTSC transfer rubbish aswell) but the prints sourced were more often than not inferior tatty old prints.

The Thing set demonstrates this clearly.
The color version is from the same poor quality B&W print with the commentary rather than the pristine remastered version on the other disc.

With the B&W material now being restored and remastered before colorising its helping a great deal in improving the quality.
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Old 06-11-2007, 23:29   #56
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I just saw the screen shots from the link eariler and i have to say i'm completely blown away!

It's almost looks like it was orignally made that way! It doesn't mean i think colourization is a good thing. as long as the original b/w version is the main feature and the colour version is seen as a bonus then i don't mind if they do this. heck i might watch it a few times!

Thats what I'm trying to say.

A lot of the opposition to colorisation comes from a history of bad quality broadcasts and tapes.

The modern stuff is far better.

However I wouldn't like to see color versions supplied without the B&W original.

Unfortunately it wasnt logical for Bewitched seasons 1 and 2 to have that option.

But on R1 you could buy either color or B&W but on R2 it was color only
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Old 06-11-2007, 23:34   #57
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Taking your argument to its logical conclusion you must disagree with all forms of film restoration that take old movies and present them without a mark ,speckle or dust or any other picture defect ,something that would most definitely have been on prints in the cinema or on tv.

Are you being serious here?
What is being discussed is not a matter of restoration. Restoration is, by definition, an attempt to return something to it's original condition - or as near to it as possible.
What you're advocating is the vandalism of the medium.
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Old 06-11-2007, 23:38   #58
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To be perfectly blunt, the opinon of the Turner Prize committee is a matter no consequence to me.
What does matter to me? Integrity. The integrity of the original maker's vision should always be the overriding concern. What you, I or anybody else thinks is an improvement on the director's work is of no importance.
As regards the film under discussion, Capra shot the movie on B/W stock, exhibited it so, and clearly stated his desire that it should continue to be presented in that form. What right does anyone have to say that they know better than the man who made it?






This laboring of the word choice is nothing more than spin. If, by some chance, these foul colrizations sell well - what will the result be? Will the suits put those sales down to demand from film fans for dual releases? Will they hell! No, the bean counters are going to assume that the movie shifted more copies because not in spite of the color version. It's no great leap of imagination to see that the next move will be to decide that original B/W transfers are just another unnecessary overhead. Why produce two versions of the same film when head office has reached the conclusion that the crayoned one was the major selling point?

This practice needs to stop, and we need to stop finding excuses for it.


If restoration or remastering is to be done to any film it will have to start with the original version .

As I've said above there's little point in bringing it out in colour if the B&W version has not been restored as the quality of the colorisation wont be very good.

Your warped logic might have had a basis in fact about 20 years ago but film restoration aswell as the appreciation of film and its history is now more respected by everybody including the money men than it was 20 years ago.

But the bottom line is that many tv channels simply will not show B&W material and even those that do often move it from peaktime.

Depending on the film a color broadcast would bring it to a new audience many of which may decide to search out the original later on.

20 Million Miles to Earth is a perfect example of a film that C4 would show on a weekday morning ,yet in color it could very well turn up on BBC1 or ITV at any time of the day

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Old 06-11-2007, 23:45   #59
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Are you being serious here?
What is being discussed is not a matter of restoration. Restoration is, by definition, an attempt to return something to it's original condition - or as near to it as possible.
What you're advocating is the vandalism of the medium.
Take a look at any modern restoration.

The Jungle Book is a perfect example of a flawless perfect picture where the current image is way beyond anything that was seen when it was made .

I cant see your problem.

The colorisation process is bringing material that would lay unseen in vaults forever to new audiences.

Nobody is forcing you to watch it in color and movie wise I dont recall any releases without the B&W original so why whinge .

It gives people a choice .

You can watch in B&W others can watch in color.

Where's the problem.

Like those who moan about 5.1 remixes that often improve the sound.
Even the whingers are happy if the mono is there so why are you so bothered when the original is there as an option?
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Old 07-11-2007, 00:05   #60
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What you, I or anybody else thinks is an improvement on the director's work is of no importance..
I certainly have never said that it was an improvement on the original and I do not think it so.

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As regards the film under discussion, Capra shot the movie on B/W stock, exhibited it so, and clearly stated his desire that it should continue to be presented in that form. What right does anyone have to say that they know better than the man who made it?
.
It IS currenty being presented in that form, exactly as Capra intended (and with a lovely new restoration to boot). There's another version that people can choose to watch or not, a bonus if you like.

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This laboring of the word choice is nothing more than spin. If, by some chance, these foul colrizations sell well - what will the result be? Will the suits put those sales down to demand from film fans for dual releases? Will they hell! No, the bean counters are going to assume that the movie shifted more copies because not in spite of the color version. It's no great leap of imagination to see that the next move will be to decide that original B/W transfers are just another unnecessary overhead. Why produce two versions of the same film when head office has reached the conclusion that the crayoned one was the major selling point?
This argument has been used since the process was started years ago. It hasn't happened yet and I don't believe it will ever happen in the future. I think the outcry from cinema fans would just be too much and it would be marketing disaster for any studio that tried to pull it off. I do take your point though that if it were to happen then I would revise my opinion on the whole process.
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