500efr

Black and White in 1930s Musicals

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i am always amazed at the dazzling, Art Deco sets and costumes of 1930s musicals. The films were shot in black and white and yet they sparkle in a magical ways. The highly polished floors enchance Eleanor Powell’s amazing tap dancing. Did they make the tapping seem snappier? Fred and Ginger seemed to be angels floating over glistening floors as they danced Cheek-to-Cheek. The lighting put a sparkle in the eyes of every close-up.  The sets were bigger than life at a time when the grind of day-to-day living was weighing down the American public. It was clever to have grand scale in which to get lost. I could see being swallowed up in the company of the dancers doing The Continental (Gay Divorcee) or getting dizzy in a Busby Berkley extravaganza. I feel like the black and white films peel back what color might cover or overwhelm. The trick of it all is that my mind’s eye feels the colors I cannot see.

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I also agree with your beautiful description of glorious black-and-white films.  And this is why I was astounded by the clip from "42nd Street" with Ruby Keeler (in Thursday's module) that was COLORIZED!  The only worse sacrilege is stretching a 4:3 aspect ratio film to 16:9 as they did with "Born to Dance" with Eleanor Powell in the same module.  This practice may fill someone's home screen, but it also makes everyone in the film look fat and destroys the gorgeous compositions of the film frame.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the course so far, but TCM should know better than to tamper with classics.

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I have met people who will refuse to watch a movie because it is in black and white.  They are seriously missing out!  Some friends and I used to have a movie club, and we would get together every few months at someone's house to eat, visit, and watch a movie.  Whoever was hosting was the one to choose what movie we would watch.  I was determined to make a point, so I chose "The Ghost and Mrs Muir."  They loved it, of course, and I had a nice "I told you so" moment.

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Almost all of my television viewing before 1983 was on black and white TVs. In spite of this, I still remember these programs as if they were in color. I never felt like I was missing out on something if I saw a color program in black and white. Because of this, I don't understand the appeal of colorizing black and white film.

  

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On 6/3/2018 at 5:17 PM, 500efr said:

i am always amazed at the dazzling, Art Deco sets and costumes of 1930s musicals. The films were shot in black and white and yet they sparkle in a magical ways. The highly polished floors enchance Eleanor Powell’s amazing tap dancing. Did they make the tapping seem snappier? Fred and Ginger seemed to be angels floating over glistening floors as they danced Cheek-to-Cheek. The lighting put a sparkle in the eyes of every close-up.  The sets were bigger than life at a time when the grind of day-to-day living was weighing down the American public. It was clever to have grand scale in which to get lost. I could see being swallowed up in the company of the dancers doing The Continental (Gay Divorcee) or getting dizzy in a Busby Berkley extravaganza. I feel like the black and white films peel back what color might cover or overwhelm. The trick of it all is that my mind’s eye feels the colors I cannot see.

Perceptive and beautifully stated. 

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