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Money Of Color

November 23, 1986

Director John Huston has added his voice to the throng who lament the colorizing of black-and-white films, e.g., his "The Maltese Falcon" ("War Against Colorizing Joined by John Huston," by David T. Friendly, Nov. 14).

I strongly agree that classic films should remain intact. What I don't understand is why this issue is drawing so much attention. Television has always been, and probably always will be, a giant Cuisinart for feature films. Milos Forman, Warren Beatty and Woody Allen represent the small percentage of directors who have spoken out against the mutilation (or editing) of feature films on television.

Censoring, shortening the playing time and breaking the pace of a film to add commercials is commonplace. Wide- screen films are "scanned" and reframed to fit the less rectangular format of TV.

The latest electronic "La Machines" shorten, or compress, the film by removing a single frame at a regular interval so that it can contain an additional two to six minutes of commercials per hour of air time. Why don't we hear complaints concerning these atrocities?


The vast majority of the films being colorized will only bring profits to the people who are paying to have the films colorized and not the actors, producers and directors who originally made the films. If these people were to receive residuals every time the colorized films aired, their roar would almost certainly be "compressed" into a squeak.

There are those who truly believe in film preservation and film as art while the majority seem to jump on the honey wagon when the color green begins colorizing the horizon.


Sherman Oaks

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