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Color tinting of silent films


FlyBackTransformer
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Where then is the logic in opposing the colorizing of old black & white films? Isn't color tinting destroying the original artistic integrity of silent films???.....yet nobody objects. :) Cease this foolishness! I wanna see the colorized prints of films like Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House and Chain Lightning *which look great colorized*.

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Tinting different scenes in different colors is fairly common in silent films, and was done to the originals by the film makers. Also, some B&W silents were laboriously hand painted frame-by-frame with multiple colors. I'm all for presenting these films with their colors, as was originally intended.

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I wonder if taking some crummy new films and decolorizing them would make them better? HA! Probably not. --- The point is, show the old movies the way they were made, its fascinating how many things they tried to do early on in film making, and some effects really added to the product.

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Hey, no Color was added to BEN HUR (1925) of any kind. Those are original Two-Color Technicolor sequences. At least one of the Technicolor scenes in still lost.

 

The Tinted print of THE BIRTH OF A NATION that TCM is airing now contains all the original tints of the 1921 Re-issue. The !915 version may or may not have had different tints, but was not Black and White. Some Silents were shot entirely in Two-Color Technicolor and other Color Processes. Other had Stencil color processes. The tinting process in Silent films was commonplace. Many films were both tinted and toned.

 

The score to BOAN this morning is essentially a recent recording of the original 1915 Orchestra score. An Orchestra toured with the film and during these Road Show engagements and performed the score live. This practice continued for other important Griffith features for some years. TCM is about the only place you can see this Photoplay Productions Restoration of BOAN. It is not on DVD. Kino has a more recent Blu-ray release, but it has a Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra score.

 

THE BIRTH OF A NATION is a screen adaption of Thomas Dixon's infamous THE KLANSMAN. Griffith remains faithful to the book. Just because Dixon was himself a raciest doesn't make Griffith one. Griffith went on to make other films that would refute the raciest claim. Unfortunately, the key one does not survive. People are just as Raciest today as they ever were. They are just not open about it.

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>I didn't like the way they added colour to Ben Hur (1925), I think it took away from the film.

 

Twinkee,

 

The color sequences in the silent *Ben Hur* weren't added by modern restoration methods.

 

Those sequences appeared in the original movie and were shot in two-strip Technicolor. A number of films back in that era had color sequences in them.

 

All modern preservationists did was restore the film, they didn't colorize any sequences, they just restored the original two-strip Technicolor sequences.

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But colorizing does work and DOES improve the enjoyment of B&W films like Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, Chain Lightning, The Longest Day, House on Haunted Hill and even Plan 9 from Outer Space and that is why TCM and most of you TCM devotees are completely wrong about this. This space cadet has spoken. :)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSYB6fGBXxk

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But colorizing does work and DOES improve the enjoyment of B&W films like Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, Chain Lightning, The Longest Day, House on Haunted Hill and even Plan 9 from Outer Space and that is why TCM and most of you TCM devotees are completely wrong about this. This space cadet has spoken. :)

 

There's a guy I know in a baseball forum who's spent the last two years trying to convince everyone that Ichiro Suzuki isn't worthy of the Hall of Fame. Perhaps the two of you might get together to compare notes.

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HOW does colorizing these films make them more enjoyable, Fly? Does the added color make the DIALOGUE better? Is the SCREENPLAY improved by the color? Do Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Richard Burton, Red Buttons and Richard Beymer ACT better in color?

 

I'll concede that maybe, MAYBE, colorization of old B&W movies with tons of outdoor wilderness scenes might be more enjoyable, in THAT respect only. But a war movie or a light comedy won't reap any real and specific benefits.

 

Sepiatone

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I know you're trying to be reasonable, but I wouldn't want to see the outdoor shots of, say Out of the Past, or, Treasure of the Sierra Madre colorized. They are magnificent the way they are. The best way to decide about colorizing is to confer with the creators of the films and get their ok for it. The only example I know of a filmmaker that has been amenable to colorizing is Ray Harryhousen.

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Last year the AMC series The Waking Dead did colorization in reverse. They took a color episode and made it Black And White.

 

I saw a Three Stooges DVD that had a color / BW option. The Three Stooges just look weird in color, even when shot in color, (Snow White And The Three Stooges, A Kook's Tour.) I like The Stooges, but altering one of their films is not exactly desicration, (especially if both versions are available.)

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To get back to the original point of this thread, and its a flawed point, no one has altered/tinted the original black and white films shown here. The color tinting that we are seeing in these early films was put there from the start by the original creators of the film. When film was first created, if color was possible at the start, would anyone have wanted to make a black/white film? If sound had been possible from the beginning would anyone have purposely made a silent movie? The early film makers made do with what was technologically possible at the time. Tinting was an attempt to add some enhanced realism to the picture. Over time the technology improved greatly. Then cost was a factor. When it was possible to actually film in color it was at first very expensive. Over time the expense came down, then it was more a choice of the film maker whether to film in color or black/white. Hitchcock purposely chose to film *Psycho* in black/white for example. In conclusion, I believe most of us want to see a film as it was originally done and accept the limitations that existed at the time.

 

Edited by: mrroberts on Sep 3, 2013 11:30 PM

 

Edited by: mrroberts on Sep 3, 2013 11:31 PM

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An older friend once told me that when she saw Flying Down to Rio in its original release, the screen was tinted for the song "Orchids in the Moonlight." I've seen the film many times and have never seen that effect. I wonder if the original print survives.

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It makes no sense to say one prefers black and white movies the way they are if the black and white movie was tinted in the first place. That is the way they are, if that's the case.

 

Many people on this thread have pointed that out.

 

Obviously there's a tremendous difference between an old black and white film that was hand tinted or used some kind of early Technicolour technique for some of its footage, and a film that was made entirely in black and white and never tinted nor conceived in any way to have colour.

 

What matters here is the original filmmakers' intentions.

 

When many people explain about hand tinting in very early movies, it is difficult to understand why anyone would continue to talk about the way they were intended. One of the benefits of these message boards is to read and appreciate others' knowledge about such matters and learn.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Sep 4, 2013 9:36 AM

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"This Is The Night" (1932), the Paramount comedy with Roland Young, Lili Damita, Charlie Ruggles and Thelma Todd now best known as Cary Grant's film debut, has some blue-tinted scenes adding ambiance to its portrayal of Venice at night.

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