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Legend Films' latest: "She", "Things To Come", etc.

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Legend Films' latest: "She", "Things To Come", etc.

Old 12-07-06, 06:24 PM
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Legend Films' latest: "She", "Things To Come", etc.

Legend Films has put out at least three new releases of its restored colourized/original B&W packages of public domain classics last Nov. 28, 2006. These titles don't make the news or even the review circuit but they are available on the Legend Films website ( http://www.legendfilms.net/ ) and at least on amazon.com and amazon.ca.

The titles are Merian C. Cooper's She (1935), H.G. Wells/William C. Menzies' Things To Come (1936) and Hal Roach's March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934) starring Laurel & Hardy. The first two sci-fi classics have been chosen personally for colourization by stop-motion animation legend Ray Harryhausen who apparently supervised the colour process himself and does commentary duty on both films as well.

I have ordered March of the Wooden Soldiers on the strength of it being the best image and sound restoration ever of that film and also (sue me!) because I'm curious about the colour process. Each of these films has a flashmedia trailer on the Legend Films website. I might acquire more.





Extras on this film:
Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
Commentary by: Ray Harryhausen
Interview with Ray Harryhausen
Colorization process with Ray Harryhausen
Ray Harryhausen bio and filmography
Classic sci-fi toy commercials
Legend Films trailers



Extras on this film:
Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
Commentary by: Ray Harryhausen
Interview with Ray Harryhausen
Film process with Ray Harryhausen
Ray Harryhausen bio and filmography
Additional scenes
Legend Films trailers
She trailer





Extras on this film:
Newly restored color version
Original black-and-white version
Remastered in high definition from rare 35mm film
Original theatrical trailer
Christmas trailer gallery
Bonus animated movie: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer [probably the 1948 Max Fleischer cartoon]
Rare Laurel & Hardy short film
The Ultimate Holiday Bonus Package including: Christmas Toyshop, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Merry Christmas cartoon, classic toy commercials, vintage holiday film rarities

I am a great fan of the sound and image restoration work Legend Films did on Reefer Madness (1938, with DTS 5.1 sound!) and My Man Godfrey (1936).

Last edited by baracine; 12-07-06 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 12-07-06, 08:02 PM
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Thanks for the info. I remember seeing Things to Come on PBS years ago---great, epic early sci-fi movie. I believe Wells himself wrote the screenplay, too.
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Old 12-07-06, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ky-Fi
Thanks for the info. I remember seeing Things to Come on PBS years ago---great, epic early sci-fi movie. I believe Wells himself wrote the screenplay, too.
There are no official reviews so far but an early commentator on amazon.com ( http://www.amazon.com/Things-Come-Ra.../dp/B000HLDFOU ) says the Legend version is not as good as the Image version:

Briefly, the colorization of this film is rather weak. (The colorized version of SHE put out on the same label is much more impressive.) It has that rather pastel look reminiscent of the early days of the process. The "restored" black and white version, also included on this disc, is also a disappointment. Although not as bad as many of the public domain DVDs out there, it pales in comparison to the Image DVD, which still remains the benchmark at this time. Besides the slightly dupey look, the beginning of the opening credits is clipped, and the climactic last chord of music at the film's finale is missing. Most importantly, the film runs 92 minutes, NOT the 100 minutes promised on the DVD case.
It should be noted that the Image Things to Come is 92 minutes and 45 seconds.

Last edited by baracine; 01-26-07 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 12-08-06, 06:53 AM
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Isn't Legend Films releasing somthing called 'John Wayne In Color' this coming Tuesday? I can't seem to find any information on their website about it, but the collection appears to include three 'B' films he made in the 1930s, that'll be colorized, along with the original B&W versions...plus other extras.

Anyone have anything on this?
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Old 12-08-06, 08:24 AM
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Confirmation on the Image disc's apparent superiority over at the DVD Verdict forum. They can keep their 'crayoned in' versions, but I had high hopes that at least they'd present the best b&w presentation to date. Shame.
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Old 12-08-06, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by John Hodson
Confirmation on the Image disc's apparent superiority over at the DVD Verdict forum. They can keep their 'crayoned in' versions, but I had high hopes that at least they'd present the best b&w presentation to date. Shame.
Confirmation? It is only one man's opinion (Ray Faiola) who complains about the 92 minute-100 minute discrepancy more than anything else. There is also another poster saying that nothing can be worse than the Image transfer...

It would have been a real coup if Legend Films had been able to use the "three missing minutes" from Things to Come, which have apparently survived on 16 mm film, clean them up and and integrate them in their presentation, thereby silencing the anti-colourization witch hunters. But then neither did Image.

Here are the trailers by the way:

She

Thing to Come

Last edited by baracine; 12-08-06 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 12-08-06, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ken_572002
Isn't Legend Films releasing somthing called 'John Wayne In Color' this coming Tuesday? I can't seem to find any information on their website about it, but the collection appears to include three 'B' films he made in the 1930s, that'll be colorized, along with the original B&W versions...plus other extras.

Anyone have anything on this?
You're right, even though it's not on the website. It's on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wayne-Color-St.../dp/B000I0RNWK

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Old 12-08-06, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by baracine
Confirmation? It is only one man's opinion (Ray Faiola) who complains about the 92 minute-100 minute discrepancy more than anything else. There is also another poster saying that nothing can be worse than the Image transfer...

It would have been a real coup if Legend Films had been able to use the "three missing minutes" from Things to Come, which have apparently survived on 16 mm film, clean them up and and integrate them in their presentation, thereby silencing the anti-colourization witch hunters. But then neither did Image.

Here are the trailers by the way:

She

Thing to Come

(1) Ray appears to be very a knowledgable collector; he supplied the missing eight minutes for She after all. If he says 'Legend DVD looks like either a 16mm dupe or a 16mm dupe neg' I'm willing to trust his word.

(2) Witch hunt? Count me in. I'd burn the bloody 'crayoned in' abominations if I could.

(3) The trailers; yikes! I rest my case.
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Old 12-08-06, 10:39 AM
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The Image Things to Come is from the "Wade Williams Collection" which is not exactly a guarantee of either quality, authenticity or preservation as you can judge from what DVD Savant had to say about his version of Invaders from Mars ( http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s96InvadersA.html ):

There's only one explanation for all this: Wade Williams. Hailing from Kansas City, this film collector began announcing that he had rights to a number of Science Fiction films in the early 70's, including favorites Rocketship X-M and Kronos. Like a latter-day Raymond Rohauer, Williams began the dicey practice of altering prints of 'his' films, as Rohauer had once done to the classics of Buster Keaton, as a way of re-registering them under new copyrights. Rohauer just retyped some title cards, but Williams had much bigger ideas. Like the worst of film revisionists, Williams seems to have been interested only in the 'improved' versions he re-edited, and may not have retained elements to preserve the originals. The original Rocketship X-M had some pretty crummy V-2 rocket stock footage that didn't match models seen elsewhere in the show. Williams hired some Cascade alumni (including cameraman Dennis Muren) to shoot replacement footage featuring a proper-looking rocket. It is excellently done; there might even be some matching astronauts marching in the new footage. This is the version that appears on television, VHS and Laser, and presumably on forthcoming DVDs. But the original unaltered 1950 Rocketship X-M has been a no-show for decades, if it exists at all.

Wade Williams reissued Invaders from Mars to theaters in the middle 70s, with the changes listed above in versions 3 and 4. The dialogue lines were (reportedly) excised because audiences laughed at them, putting Williams in the category of earlier producers who cut scenes out of foreign imports like The Mysterians, Reptilicus, Gorath, and Varan the Unbelievable because screening audiences laughed 'at the wrong places.'

The rape of Invaders from Mars is one of the worst examples in modern film preservation of the trashing of a significant title. The 1993 Image laserdisc has a wonderful selection of extras and posters, cut scenes and even a comic book, but its copy of the film is an appalling mishmash cobbled together from a number of wildly divergent sources. The Image producers threw their net far and wide to find decent source material for this 'labor of love' disc, yet their presentation jumps from patches of excellent quality, to ones with heavy damage, to passages that look like a bad color xerox. Clearly, they were trying to reconstruct what someone else (W.W.?) had chopped up.
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Old 12-08-06, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by John Hodson
[...]Ray appears to be very a knowledgable collector; he supplied the missing eight minutes for She after all.
Too bad he didn't volunteer his 16 mm version of Things To Come with the three missing minutes as well...

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Old 12-08-06, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by John Hodson
'crayoned in' abominations
From My Man Godfrey (Legend Films):

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Old 12-08-06, 12:10 PM
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I have Legend's version of My Man Godfrey, and the transfer of the print was outstanding. I am looking forward to getting 'John Wayne In Color' next week, and have all the confidence in Legend Films, that the prints will be prestine!
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Old 12-08-06, 12:45 PM
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Legend Films usually does good restoration work. Reefer Madness has never looked better. Of the few Legend titles I own, I don't think I've ever watched the colorized versions. I buy them for the best PD restorations around. I'm curious about the March of the Wooden Soldiers and hope that it'll be complete. The best version available on DVD (Passport?) cuts out at the very very end. I'd love a complete version of this film.

Things to Come is also on my want list but I'll wait for more reviews.
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Old 12-08-06, 01:08 PM
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Things to Come is a problem. DVD Savant says that the Image version, despite being a Wade Williams Collection film (hurl! spit!), is the best available version so far, and an early reviewer has said that the Legend version is missing part of the titles and its closing chord, besides being transferred from a 16 mm source (according to Ray Faiola) whereas the Wade Williams version is 35 mm.

She, on the other hand, appears to be a no-brainer. It has the 8 missing minutes as an extra (from a 16 mm print furnished by Ray Faiola) and (apparently) this will be integrated into the film itself in an upcoming 2-disc (She + Things to Come?) Legend release in April 2007. Furthermore, for those who need to be assuaged before defiling their chaste eyeballs with the corrupt product of film desacralization and crass commercialism that is colourization (or simply need to be told when it's OK to enjoy themselves), the production of She was planned in colour until a last-minute budget cut forced its filming in B&W. Also, the Max Steiner score may come out better after digital sweetening and cleaning-up.

Last edited by baracine; 12-08-06 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 12-08-06, 01:35 PM
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For what it's worth, According to Randy Skredtvedt's excellent Laurel & Hardy book, "Babes in Toyland" was originally conceived as a color film and they actually started filming in color. The production was plagued with problems and injuries and scrapped temporarily, then re-started in B&W with a few cast changes.
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Old 12-08-06, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Quatermass
For what it's worth, According to Randy Skredtvedt's excellent Laurel & Hardy book, "Babes in Toyland" was originally conceived as a color film and they actually started filming in color. The production was plagued with problems and injuries and scrapped temporarily, then re-started in B&W with a few cast changes.
Yes, it SCREAMS for colourization... Not to mention that it was the first in a series of remakes of Babes in Toyland to gradually strip the original Victor Herbert operetta of its songs, original lyrics and orchestrations, storyline, settings and meaning. But of all of those, I guess March of the Wooden Soldiers is the least objectionable.





Positive review here: http://www.blotto.nl/index.php/inter...bes_in_colour/

The colourized version is based on the restored black and white print and is a major improvement over the previous 1991 colourization. This time, the colours look much more natural, with only a few exceptions (crocodiles do not have green skins), but at the same time less saturated that they appeared on the previous version. This makes the film look rather like an early Technicolor film from the mid-30s, when colours were being consciously suppressed a bit because bright colours were considered to be too much of a strain for an audience still used to black and white. Moreover, the new colour version displays the same fluctuations in image brightness that are found in the black and white version, which make the colours appear to be really in the film, instead of superimposed on it. Because this is a Hal Roach production and overall bright lighting was employed to mask any wrinkles in the boys’ faces, the faces occasionally look a bit pale in the colour version as well.

The few minor remarks above do not detract from the fact that the new colour version is a triumph, both technically and artistically, and has become our favourite version of this Laurel & Hardy classic. It’s a joy to finally see Stan with red hair and blue eyes.

There are scene selections for both film version, but only for the colour version can these be accessed through the menu. There are no subtitles.

The bonus materials are remarkably abundant:
- First, we are treated to two trailers for this film: the 1934 original and a new one from 2006, specially created to promote the colour version. There are also trailers of other Christmas-related films;
- A ‘rare Laurel & Hardy film’: this is the shortened version of The Tree in a Test Tube from 1941 (containing only the Laurel & Hardy material). It seems that some of the colours have been digitally enhanced, such as the boys’ faces, the car, and Stan’s socks;
- Also on the disc: two cartoons (including one featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), three Christmas-themed shorts, produced by Castle Films, and old toy commercials: all of them ideal to watch on a cold winter evening by a fireplace (fireplace not included). The Christmas package is completed with a message from Santa himself, a karaoke version of ‘Jingle Bells’, and, last but not least, ‘Merry Christmas’ sung by Our Gang (The Little Rascals), including Spanky, Darla and the unique vocal talent of the unsurpassed Alfalfa.

Thank you, Legend Films and in particular Mr. Barry Sandrew, for your kind cooperation and the quality treatment you have given this film. Other companies can learn something from this. Warmly recommended!

Last edited by baracine; 12-08-06 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 12-08-06, 04:07 PM
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The original end title, absent on the KirchGruppe version, is intact here, although oddly, the black and white version contains the ‘Samuel Goldwyn’ copyright notice from 1991 (also found on the first colour version, still available on the GoodTimes DVD). The source print was probably missing the original title, so the older one was substituted. The new colour version’s end title bears a recent copyright notice.
Well, this is enough for me. The movie INTACT FINALLY and restored!? Definate buy.


Originally Posted by baracine
Furthermore, for those who need to be assuaged before defiling their chaste eyeballs with the corrupt product of film desacralization and crass commercialism that is colourization (or simply need to be told when it's OK to enjoy themselves), the production of She was planned in colour until a last-minute budget cut forced its filming in B&W.

Would have, could have, should have. It has nothing to do with "being told when it's OK to enjoy." It's cinematic history we're talking about. A Black and White film should remain in Black and White. A film shot in Widescreen should be shown in Widescreen. A Mono film should be heard in Mono. Sure, full digital filmmaking would have been awesome when making Wizard of Oz but they didn't have it then. And the movie stands as a triumph because of what they worked with. Same for any other film including low-budget wonders like Little Shop of Horrors.

I applaud Legends Films work in the restoration department (except when they add things in the background - presumably to retain their copyright of a PD title) but if these releases only had the colorized version, I wouldn't buy them.
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Old 12-08-06, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by The Valeyard
Would have, could have, should have. It has nothing to do with "being told when it's OK to enjoy." It's cinematic history we're talking about. A Black and White film should remain in Black and White. A film shot in Widescreen should be shown in Widescreen. A Mono film should be heard in Mono.
I suppose the drinking of nutmeg or alcool-spiked eggnog during the viewing of March of the Wooden Soldiers is equally out of the question...

Sure, full digital filmmaking would have been awesome when making Wizard of Oz but they didn't have it then. And the movie stands as a triumph because of what they worked with.
But it would have been swallowed in the sands of time long ago, as a children's classic, if it had been shot in black and white...

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Old 12-08-06, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by baracine
But it would have been swallowed in the sands of time long ago if it had only been in black and white...
I'm not too sure about that but who can really say? It was original shown in both Sepia & Color. Not changed later on to make it more "marketable."

I was using the Wizard of Oz as an example to illustrate the differences of filmmaking between then and now. Not as an example against colorization. However, point taken. What about Citizen Kane? Black & White, considered by some to be the greatest film ever made. Not swallowed up by the sands of time but standing on it's own merits of filmmaking during the 40s. Or how about the relatively recent Clerks? Does the fact that it was shot in Black & White mean that one day, it'll be swallowed up and forgotten?

If something isn't broke, it should be "fixed." Especially just to make it "marketable."
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Old 12-08-06, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by The Valeyard
I'm not too sure about that but who can really say? It was original shown in both Sepia & Color. Not changed later on to make it more "marketable."

I was using the Wizard of Oz as an example to illustrate the differences of filmmaking between then and now. Not as an example against colorization. However, point taken. What about Citizen Kane? Black & White, considered by some to be the greatest film ever made. Not swallowed up by the sands of time but standing on it's own merits of filmmaking during the 40s. Or how about the relatively recent Clerks? Does the fact that it was shot in Black & White mean that one day, it'll be swallowed up and forgotten?

If something isn't broke, it should be "fixed." Especially just to make it "marketable."
One is not allowed to have an opinion about Citizen Kane (not exactly a Christmas classic) or Casablanca and colourization and live, in this country.

To quote TIME magazine, 1987 ( http://jcgi.pathfinder.com/time/maga...3207-3,00.html ):

But if so, let the great black-and-white crusaders stand up and boycott and protect us from other debased and debasing junk in our culture. Otherwise, we have a right to conclude that they are not serious, just a bunch of effetes moved by nostalgia, snobbery and fear. A Puritan, goes the old joke, is a person who lives in mortal fear that someone somewhere is having fun. A Hollywood Puritan is a person who lives in mortal fear that someone somewhere is watching Ingrid Bergman blush red in Rick's Cafe
Clerks, however, is exactly the kind of good-time movie that could benefit from colourization. Hell, its soundtrack has already been upgraded to Dolby 5.1 in the "Special Edition"... And Clerks' success was not in any part due to the fact that it was in B&W but to the fact that its appeal spread through word of mouth among film geeks (and video store clerks) who knew enough about film not to put a good one down simply because it couldn't afford colour.

I will remind you that Georges-Henri Clouzot's own daughter has personally supervised the colourization of her father's classic Le Salaire de la Peur ("The Wages of Fear") for French TV based on her childhood memories of having been present during the location shooting and her mother's colour on-set photographs. I saw the result on local French TV not long ago and it is amazing. It's just as stark except the sky is blue, the dirt, the rocks, the mud and the trucks are grey, the sand is yellow, the cacti are green, the men are dressed in white, their skin is skin-toned and blood and fire are red... The night and petroleum are still black and the Mexican village explodes in a myriad of colours, as Mexican villages are wont to do.

Except, instead of calling it "the rape of a black and white classic", the French call it "a vibrant and heart-felt hommage to the filmmaker's art". It's all a question of perspective...










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Old 12-08-06, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by baracine
From My Man Godfrey (Legend Films):
It's bleedin' horrible man!

When the original cinematographer is contacted by psychic medium to supervise this, when the director has given his blessing from beyond the grave, or when hell freezes over, I'll sit down and watch one of these products of the morticians art.

A film is photographed and lit according to the film stock used; colouring it in doesn't change the fact that a black and white film is shot one way, a colour film, another.

I'd like to say that for a bit of fluff like Africa Screams it doesn't matter, but I can't.

It matters.

But I've been in these arguments many times before and the one great constant is that you won't change your view and I won't change mine.
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Old 12-08-06, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by baracine
One is not allowed to have an opinion about Citizen Kane (not exactly a Christmas classic) or Casablanca and colourization and live, in this country. Clerks, however is exactly the kind of good-time movie that could benefit from colourization. Hell, its soundrack has already been spiked to Dolby 5.1 in the "Special Edition"...
But who's to say or make that call? I'm sure that if he wanted, Kevin Smith could have had the film colorized for it's 10th Anniversary release (he certainly over-did the soundtrack)but he didn't. He kept it Black & White - The way it was seen when it won all those awards. It, Casablanca or Citizen Kane (nor any other Black & White film IMO) couldn't benefit to any degree by being colorized. Films stand on their own merit - color, sepia, black & white, orange or green.


Originally Posted by baracine
I will remind you that Georges-Henri Clouzot's own daughter has personally supervised the colourization of her father's classic Le Salaire de la Peur ("The Wages of Fear") for French TV based on her having been present during the shooting and her mother's colour on-set photographs. I saw the result on local French TV not long ago and it is amazing. It's just as stark except the sky is blue, the dirt, the rocks, the mud and the trucks are grey, the sand is yellow, the men are dressed in white and blood and fire are red... The night is still black and the Mexican village explodes in a myriad of colours, as Mexican villages are wont to do.
Beautiful or not....the film was a classic BEFORE it was color.

I'm sure Georges-Henri Clouzot's daughter is very proud of herself but did her father WANT his film colorized? Was his dying decree "For the love of God, colorize my movie and make it more acceptable for the 21st Century audience. And if you could, add a DTS soundtrack"? Or was it a marketing decision pure and simple? Where's the artistic merit then?


Originally Posted by baracine
Except, instead of calling it "the rape of a black and white classic", the French call it "a vibrant and heart-felt hommage to the filmmaker's art". It's all a question of perspective...
And again, it was a classic BEFORE it was colorized. Despite what the French may think.
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Old 12-08-06, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by The Valeyard
I'm sure Georges-Henri Clouzot's daughter is very proud of herself but did her father WANT his film colorized? Was his dying decree "For the love of God, colorize my movie and make it more acceptable for the 21st Century audience. And if you could, add a DTS soundtrack"? Or was it a marketing decision pure and simple? Where's the artistic merit then?
Actually, her father did confide to her that it would have been wonderful to shoot it in colour. To which she retorted: "But, Daddy, you made a black and white masterpiece!" And he said: "Yes, but the blacks and the whites would have been so much more wonderful in colour!"
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Old 12-08-06, 05:38 PM
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Ack! No fair, you edited some of your post while I was responding to it. Foul, I cry!
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Old 12-08-06, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by The Valeyard
Ack! No fair, you edited some of your post while I was responding to it. Foul, I cry!
I'm always doing that... Do you think posts like that get written in just a few minutes?

About Clouzot and commercialism: The colourization of Le Salaire de la peur was done for a private French TV station, TMC. It's been licensed throughout the French-speaking world but, for some mysterious reason, it is not yet available on DVD and maybe never will. Call it "concept art". Of course, the anti-colourization puritans call it "a publicity stunt".

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