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Ban The Black-and-whites

June 14, 1987

After I recently attended UCLA's meager but much appreciated festival of Hammer horror films, I experienced a minor but highly significant epiphany. To wit, a positive argument for the colorizing of movies was profoundly revealed to me.

Hammer's horrors were noteworthy in the genre for several qualities; lurid color was a particularly distinct trademark. Yet, as was sadly presented at UCLA's series, the decades have been unkind to the Hammer oeuvre. Count Dracula/Christopher Lee is but a pale shadow of his Technicolor self. It would be gratifying if he was restored to his former ghastly glory via colorization processes.

I am not naive enough to believe such a blessing would befall the Hammer films; to cinema scholars and aesthetes these gems are considered, by and large, Grade-B tripe. Cuique suum; MGM musicals leave me cold.

Still, I could champion the process of colorization if the technique was used to restore severely faded movies instead of transmogrifying black-and-white classics. My bid: the hoary horrific history of the Hammer House of Horror.

MICHAEL A. CARLISLE

North Hollywood

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