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Legend Films - colorizing classic movies


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What do you all think of Legend Films DVDs ? The company releases everything restored and colorized. As a bonus , the original black and white version is usually included as a bonus on the DVDs.

 

So far , they've done night of the living dead , last man oon earth , house on haunted hill , carnival of souls, she , plan 9 from outer space , little shop of horrors , the killer shrews , giant gila monster , my man godfrey , three stooges movies , john wayne movies , reffer madness , and a christmas wish (the great rupert).

 

Don't know if they did 'it's a wonderful life' , but i thought the colorization was beautiful. Check it out on youtube. somebody posted a clip of it. The movies looks crystal clear. Not a mark on it. And the color is beautiful.

 

 

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As for Night of the living dead : I thought Hal Roach did a better job colorizing it. That version is posted all over youtube (the won with the blue pontiac seen in the beginning).

 

I love the origtinal black and white version too.

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I have mixed emotions about colorizing. Of course, the curiosty of seeing how many movies might have looked if color film were available at the time they were made, or at least, financially viable is one thing, but to colorize movies intentionally shot in black and white is another. That with the earliest methods used called for "bleaching" the negative seemed to remove much of the original B&W's ambience and left a lifeless print, even with the "bright colors". My favorite story about the whole thing comes from a report that Stan Laurel's daughter contacted the company that colorized one of the Laurel and Hardy films, and told them her Father's hair and eye color was all wrong. It would have been a simple matter to get that vital information before going ahead with the project. The presumption and arrogance of the company choosing not to do so sort of turned me off to the practice.

 

 

At first blush, colorizing seems to be aimed at those who lack the patience, or cognizance to follow a well written story, and feel the need to add color as if to attract the attention of "unsophisticated" individuals. Much like explorers offering the "backwards", savage natives brightly colored beads.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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I agree...Colorization is an abomination. At the very least, Legend includes a restored black and white version, but IMHO colorization is still hideous and should be outlawed, and the colorizers flogged in public.

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I believe what they do is get copies of movies in Public Domain, colorize them, then copyright the colorized version so that it is theirs and they don't have to pay any royalties to anyone. To me that is lower than copying movies for my own enjoyment.

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This practice implies that colorizing is superior to black-and-white. In some cases, I wish they would reverse the process. There are some films made in Trucolor, for instance, before Republic had perfected the process, that I would prefer to see in crisp black-and-white (as I would not have to look at bizarre, distracting flesh tones). In a similar vein, I would prefer to see some of the early talkies that were shot in the two-strip Technicolor process also converted to black-and-white. The greenish-blue hues that overtake the picture seem to destroy the overall art design of the picture and upstage decent performances and competent direction. There are even modern classics that I would like to see in black-and-white, because the filmmakers have used so much soft-focus lighting to hide the aging of the lead stars that the end result is a washed out print in color (especially if it is a film with a lot of 'soft' close ups). Of course, maybe then we would just get a soft-ish black-and-white version...

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A movie in the public domain means the public can do what they want with the movie. So I fail to see how changing the content (e.g. colorizing), is some type of 'lower' (scummy) practice. (some of said the process should be outlawed which makes no sense to me).

 

For the record I don't like the colorizing process i.e. it doesn't enhance my enjoyment of a movie and often distracts from that enjoyment).

 

But anything in the public domain can be altered and for movies NOT in the public domain if the people with the copyright grant the rights to a 3rd party to alter their work that is their business.

 

As a consumer I can just avoid that product. The only legit concern would be IF the original work is no longer available. This isn't the case here.

 

 

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This is My Take on Black and White Classic Films . . .

 

 

 

I, too, am a Fan of the 'Black & White' films . . . possibly a mild 'Sepia', if there is such a 'tint' for films . . .

 

 

But I have noticed when I would see a film that has been 'colorized', that it makes it just a tad bit easier to differentiate objects in the background, that otherwise, would have been darkened or 'blurred' & hard to detect or make out what 'said' object is, in a 'congested' background, when in black & white.

 

 

Of course, it doesn't really matter what the 'object' is ... It may have nothing to do with the story line ... but I'm the type of person that loves to 'scope' out a room, in a movie, as the story is being told. For Example: With a little tint of coloring, I'm able to see where a drape ends & a wall begins ... (very minor) ... once again, nothing to do with the storyline . . . just the 'gist' on how I am able to view a film.

 

 

OTHER THAN THAT . . . I Love the Classic 'Black & White' ! ... And Hope they're here to STAY ! wink.gif

 

 

 

 

 

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Well, to paraphrase Annie, the Baileys' maid...

 

Boys and girls and music. Why do they need colorizing? ;)

 

Actually TCMfan23, after watching that link for a little bit(and before I started bawlin' like a baby at the end of it, like I always do) I gotta admit that somebody did a pretty good job of colorizing that movie, THOUGH I think I'll still stick with watchin' the original B&W version (and bawlin' my eyes out, especially when Harry says, "To my big brother George. The richest man in town!") every December.

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I spot checked a few scenes from there and I have the same complaint that I did when I saw the Hal Roach distributed colorized version a generation ago - James Stewart's eyes are supposed to be blue!

 

Everyone has the same flesh tones. The process is getting better, the earliest attempts were like looking at a child's coloring book with the crayons going outside the lines. I have the Legend copy of SHE because I wanted the film anyway and I got it quite cheaply. I've watched the B&W version twice, but have only skipped through the colorized edition.

 

There are some impressive looking scenes, mostly those involving the sets and costumes, but for me, the process is at its worst when there are close-ups of the actors.

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Sepiatone wrote: I have mixed emotions about colorizing. Of course, the curiosity of seeing how many movies might have looked if color film were available at the time they were made, or at least, financially viable is one thing, but to colorize movies intentionally shot in black and white is another.

 

I have the same mixed emotions. I love Westerns in color as well as costume movies and if given the chance will look at a colorized movie before the b&w version. I've heard there's a colorized one of *Colorado Territory* and would love to see one of *The Sea Hawk* if it exists.

 

Likewise, I've read that *The Postman Always Rings Twice* was deliberately made in b&w as was Lana Turner's being in white in all but the railroad scene where she returns from a funeral. When I saw it in color Lana/Cora's white shorts, top and turban were coral and it did not have the same impact. I admit I like color in films and if Legend id giving us a choice of which we want to see on each disc, that seems to be the best way to go.

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Back when colorization was the rage, my position was that I hated it for movies. The Maltese Falcon sickened me. Spade seemed to be wearing lipstick.

 

For classic TV, though, I thought it might be fine if it actually got stations to show the old B&W series again. TV Land was willing to do that for a time, so that need kind of went away in my eyes.

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I grew up on Black & White movies from a black & white TV. As a child, color movies was something I got to see when the family went to the drive-in.

I was in my late teens before we owned a color TV and the color wasn't all that accurate, though we all thoug t it was something great. That was when I first discovered that some of my old black & white favorites had actually been made in color.

 

 

I enjoy color movies, but I appreciate the black and white films that I grew up on, and those producers and directors that chose & choose to make their movies in Black & White for artistic purposes, even though color was and is an affordable option for them.

 

 

I've heard some say that films like "Pride & Prejudice" were originally planned to be made in color, but all the available color film stock at that time had been gobbled up by the "Gone With The Wind" project. With that in mind, when I see "Pride & Prejudice" I wonder what those flowing gown scenes would look like in color.

 

 

I am not offended by a good colorization of a beloved "classic" film. My taste is diverse enough to allow me to enjoy both vanilla & chocolate, as well as neopolitan & even rainbow sherbert.

 

 

My favorite single film of all time is "King Kong" (1933), I long loved it in black & white, but every now and then I like to pull out a colorized edition that I acquired and look at what those artists eyes imagined the color of Kong's world to be.

 

 

It may not be the true color that I'm seeing, but I know that I'm looking at someone's labor of love to render my favorite into an image of beauty that can only be seen through the eyes of an artist.

 

 

Nope, good artistic coloring of a "classic" does not offend me.

However a badly shot film, be it color or black & white, is sometimes painful to watch.

 

 

But a well done film in practically any shade of dark & light, or color, is still a film done well.

 

 

So long as I can have my cake and eat it too (both the original & a decent color rendition, when available), though I may have my preferences, if its worth enjoying, I will enjoy it, either way.

 

 

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Legend also did a Blu triple bill of Most Dangerous Game/She/Things To Come. All three movies are classic escapism films...She and Things To Come (on the Blu-ray)...The Most Dangerous Game (on the DVD)...but, oh, the video...terrible.

 

Even though the b&w versions have been restored, so Legend contends, it is not much to look at, honestly. I had She and Most Dangerous Game on DVD from Legend awhile back and thought they were okay, but now on Blu there isn't much of a difference exept the audio, which is better. But the public domain films still remain really far from studio quality. If you are looking for King Kong or Wizard of Oz, these come nowhere near.

 

Each film is in b&w and in a colorized version, including MDG on the DVD, so in essence you are getting six films, but I still find it hard to recommend this set, even at its current $12.99. I really hoped for so much but Blu just emphasized the flaws that weren't as clear on DVD.

 

p.s. -- The colorization isn't very good, either. There is one major problem with people who think it is okay to do is that they are not taking into consideration that when these films were made in b&w, the color of the clothes were chosen based on the shade of gray they would present in b&w. If we had been there at the filming, we would have been stunned at how ugly the colors were and didn't coordinate. To be honest, the people who colorize would have to duplicate THOSE colors. And another problem is that by colorizing, it decreases the sharpness of the picture.

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This is the 20th entry in this thread, and not a single Ted Turner colorization reference has been made. Given all that he has done for film preservation, not to mention creating the channel this site is a part of, that makes me smile.

 

And just in case you've forgotten (or don't know) what Ted has done for classic movie buffs, read this: http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/438472.html

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> {quote:title=VP19 wrote:}{quote}This is the 20th entry in this thread, and not a single Ted Turner colorization reference has been made.

Possibly because the title of this thread is "Legend Films - colorizing classic movies". It's not about Ted Turner's colorizing, of which more than enough has been said elsewhere. It's about Legend Films.

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Lots of misinformation in this forum. The best suggestion I have for those who don't like colorization is not to buy the DVDs. Obviously we are not colorizing movies to lose money. I've been very successful in this business for 25 years so there are certainly many people out there who want these colorized films. I believe that no one should dictate what people should or should not spend thier money nor what they should and should not watch. We search the world for the best 35mm or 16mm prints available and restore the black and white. In every DVD we release the restored black and white is there as well. In fact, colorization helps to subsidize these public domain films. Without colorization there is zero financial incentive to improve these public domain black and white masters.

 

 

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I agree with Barry 100 percent. It's not just to attract younger audiences. Some people such as I are curious to see what they're favorite films might look like in color.

 

I thought Legend's Night Of the Living dead looked bad when compared to Hal Roach's colorization. Why was Mr. Cooper's shirt yellow ? the night time scenes were blue instead of black.

 

 

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While I'm not a fan of colorized movies the fact Legend provides a restored original (black and white), version with each DVD is why I support what they are doing 100%.

 

To me this is similar to a complain many have about remakes; that remakes 'hurt' the original.

 

Sometimes this is true as when a studio will purchase the rights to the original just to suppress it as a way to increase the marketing value of the remake. Of course that is a practice I do NOT like (but a legal practice that should remain legal never the less).

 

But as Barry notes, in this case the original is restored and thus it will be available for future generations. That is adding value to us classic movie fans and I don't see how anyone can complain about that.

 

The only question I would have for Legend is do they make the restored black and white version available to outlets like TCM.

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