Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Historic Transition from Black and White to Color Films


Overall – Comic frame. No one trying to destroy black and white films.

Burke Frame
Quote or Reference
Interpretation
Early Days
Films were black and white-sort of. About 80 percent had some sort of color due to dyes, stencils, color baths, or tints in at least part of the movie. These colors were used to create a mood and/or a sense of magic. Gives examples with fantasy, other worlds and emotions from the late 1800s to the 1920s-Heller.
Using a new technology for entertainment. Reflection of society and its mood. It was really fascinating to see how they used color when it was all done by hand. It is very different from today’s films, but it creates great moods. It was interesting that some people seemed to think color was best for less serious works. We have come a long way. 
Plot under way
“artists want to show motion in color” – always. Color is expensive and not easy to use. (Technicolor issues) – faces in “Becky Sharpe” criticized as looking like “roast turkeys”.
Artists complained that color is distracting from the actors– Vance et al.
Color is a “commercial gimmick” and black and white lets you focus on what is most important – Tarkovsky interview
Color is a moving painting – not life like. – Tarkovsky
 
 
In the film reviews in the 1939 and 1940 New York Times for the films “Rebecca,” “Gone With the Wind,” and “The Wizard of Oz”, color was only mentioned in the one for “Gone With the Wind.”  That review said Scarlett was beautiful in Technicolor.  It also said that “color is hard on the eyes for so long a picture.” - Nugent
Even in cave drawings, there is sometimes color. Color is used occasionally in the 1930s and 1940s. Tension between artistic desires of filmmakers and how to use color effectively.
The idea of a distraction sounds like Dr. Vrooman’s comments on slides.  “Everything distracts from everything else”.
Some people thought that black and white films showed better character development. I am not sure, but have never seen an all black and white film. Character development seems fine in today’s color films.
It was very hard to find much mention of color or lack of it in old movie reviews.  Most of the comments were about characterization.  It may have been more of an issue for the filmmakers than the critics or maybe it was elsewhere – not sure. Or maybe everyone just accepted that most films were in black and white and did not think about it.
Transition
Competition from television made the movie makers switch to color. When television switched to color in the mid 1960s, film had to follow-Vance et al.
Not everyone loved color. Douglas Fairbanks was quoted as saying that color may detract more than it added. That it may take away from acting. – Vance et al.
The public wanted to have color everywhere. In order to make money, I think the film industry had to switch in order to survive.
It sounds like a difficult transition. It is hard to imagine some of these conversations because I have always seen films that are in color. They do not really seem distracting to me.

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