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'Colorizing' Black-and-White Movies

November 29, 1986

What a bunch of prima donnas those Hollywood producers and directors are! "Colorizing" old films desecrates classics? Hogwash! With most of the films Ted Turner is currently processing, color or black and white was not an artistic choice for the original production. Color just wasn't available. Those rare films deliberately made in black and white for dramatic impact, when a choice was possible, (only "On The Waterfront" comes to mind but I know there are others) should be preserved in their original form. But what about the others? Would Billy Wilder or John Huston make "Yankee Doodle Dandy" in black and white today? Of course not.

So what is wrong with color enhancement of an old favorite? And by the way, let's call them that. "Old favorites." Not every old film is a "classic." That new bright, sparkling color brings these oldies into a new focus today and pales into insignificance most of Hollywood's current production.

As for Huston's complaint that the original author of the film was not asked for permission to enhance his film, may I remind him that no one asked Will Shakespeare about turning "Taming of The Shrew" into the musical, "Kiss Me Kate." I wonder what George Bernard Shaw would say about his "Pygmalion" becoming "My Fair Lady." Would he decry desecrating a classic? Would he say, "If I wanted it to be a musical, I would have written it as a musical?"

WALTER M. McHUGH

Rancho Palos Verdes

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