Arguing against colorization, director Joe Dante told Stephen Farber: "There's no way for most people to see those movies the way they were meant to be seen." He's wrong. It's very simple to turn down the color saturation, transforming the picture to its uncolorized black-and-white form. In fact, an enterprising manufacturer could offer a remote-control button to cut the color as instantly as the mute button can cut the sound.
But there is no way we can replace parts of scenes that are edited out, or sides of wide-screen films that are dropped, or avoid the interruption of commercials. Colorization is really the only thing television can do to movies that the viewer can do something about.
THOMAS D. BRATTER
Stephen Farber replies: Director Joe Dante pointed out to me in an interview that a colorized film is not as sharp, and the contrast range not quite the same, as the original black-and-white print. In addition, Dante says, "On some of the new TV sets, you can't turn off the color even if you want to."