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Black & White or Color?

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View Poll Results: If you had a preference, which film stock do you prefer: Black & White or Color?
Black & White
12
48.00%
Color
13
52.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

Black & White or Color?

Old 02-05-03, 05:00 PM
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Black & White or Color?

I was going to write a long thought piece on this topic. After all, lately I've recently gone back and watched some of my all time favorite films in their modern dvd incarnations (I.E. SEVEN SAMURAI, RAGING BULL) so there was alot to discuss.

However, I thought I would open up this topic to other film lovers to see if anyone else has a preference that leans toward black & white?

I even recently committed a cardinal sin and watched one of my favorite contemporary films IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE with the color muted, in full black & white. I generally am not for EVER screwing with a director's intentions, but I must say all that was stunning and mysterious about Wong's film is brought out even more in the dreamy pseudo B&W. I know, it's wrong, it's wrong... sue me.

Also, I pose a question to go with my poll of preferences. The question is; why don't more directors work in black & white? I know there are many commercial reasons that might prohibit a director from getting a project off the ground if he were to promote his ideas on a black & white canvas. However, it's such a beautiful art form. So much more pure than the harsh 'reality' of color.

I recall a Siskel & Ebert special from when I was maybe 11 or 12 that discussed their love of b&w over color. It really summed up why it, to me, is such a superior form of film expression than color. It's hypnotic and mesmerizing to see a story unfold in black & white photography. The sense of 'urgency' and momentary pleasure gained from the bold, in your face expression of color is much more muted and subjective in black & white.

Let's get a discussion going here about real film issues. Not just who's more popular Harry Potter or Frodo.

filmgoer
Old 02-05-03, 05:10 PM
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Whu...uh...wait just a minute, here.

Why should someone prefer color over black and white? I choose 'both.' Film is a medium, not a set of strict rules. Now that filmmakers potentially have a choice, they should choose what is best for their film.
Old 02-05-03, 05:18 PM
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Originally posted by Jepthah
Whu...uh...wait just a minute, here.

Why should someone prefer color over black and white? I choose 'both.' Film is a medium, not a set of strict rules. Now that filmmakers potentially have a choice, they should choose what is best for their film.
Old 02-05-03, 05:28 PM
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Hmmm.... this is like having to choose between a over-the-shoulder-twirly with Salma Hayek and an around-the-world-French-lesson with Shakira. There simply is no right answer, because both have massive amounts of potential and benefit, not to mention spankworthiness.
Old 02-05-03, 06:00 PM
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Whoever controls posting might as well kill this post.

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Old 02-05-03, 06:21 PM
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Orson Welles said all the best performances are in b&w. I've oftened wondered if he was right.

I think there are more b&w films that use b&w well compared to color films that use color well. But I'd say the small number of color films that really use color well, beat b&w any day. A Star is Born, Gone With The Wind, Fantasia, Black Narcisus, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Singin' in the Rain, Vertigo, Lawrene of Arabia, Masque of the Red Death, 2001, Stalker, Full Mettle Jacket, Empire Strikes Back, and Crash all use color better than most b&w films use b&w, but the vast majority of color films don't know what they are doing, many of them would look better in B&W.....

.......but not In the Mood for Love!!!

Last edited by Pants; 02-05-03 at 06:24 PM.
Old 02-05-03, 06:39 PM
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No way to judge. Depends on the film.
Old 02-05-03, 08:02 PM
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I'd add Amelie and (to an extent) Traffic as contemporary movies that use color well. Schindler's List is a B&W film that used color well...
Old 02-05-03, 08:04 PM
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Depends on the film, definitely... I LOVE pictures shot in "glorious" black and white, but I don't think it works that well with new films like The Man Who Wasn't There.

I guess that I prefer black and white for older films (say late 60s - early 70s and everything before). But for newer films, I prefer color.

But then again, as it has been said, it's all the filmmaker's preference, and I would NEVER watch a color film in black and white.
Old 02-05-03, 08:49 PM
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Originally posted by Surf Monkey
No way to judge. Depends on the film.
I second that. Movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lawrence of Arabia would looks awful in B&W. Some B&W films will looks better in color, but most B&W masterpiece such as Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and the more contemporary[i The Man Who Wasn't Therewill looks funny if it's being colorized.
Old 02-06-03, 12:22 AM
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Night of he Nunter, The Third Man, Citizen Kane ..... in color? No way!

Gone WIth The Wind, Wizard of Oz, Red Desert .... in black and white? No Way!

I'll post several thousand more examples in the coming days....

Last edited by marty888; 02-06-03 at 12:24 AM.
Old 02-06-03, 02:18 AM
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i agree with the above....it's impossible to make a distinction over which is best. Today I watched Red River and The Apartment, both in Black and White....part of me wished Red River was in color, but part of me appreciated the fact that it wasn't.....same for The Apartment. They both have their place, and I would never pretend to know which is 'better'....neither is....
Old 02-06-03, 02:30 AM
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I'm gonna be honest and say that color movies are much more appealing to me.
Old 02-06-03, 06:16 AM
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Inane question if you ask me.
Old 02-06-03, 08:13 AM
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Tyler_Durden

That's your only substantial opinion is that it's inane?

Discussing a preference between a film type is inane?

Hmm...
Old 02-06-03, 08:21 AM
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In defense of my topic...

You know, I sincerly expected people to be able to make a choice, one way or the other, in what they preferred.

Perhaps my questions were phrased improperly, I dunno.

I take this from an old edition of Roger Ebert's Movie Home Companion:

From Roger Ebert's Movie Home Companion

Q. I've read with great interest your comments concerning the benefits of black and white films, and I couldn't agree more. In fact, I have actually taken several videos, turned the color off on my TV and watched them! It's amazing how many poor or average movies are improved somehow by having them in black and white. It gives the film more depth, more surrealism--an almost film noir edge and mystery. This isn't to say that the latest Pauly Shore movie is improved, of course, but you know what I mean. What do you think of my practice?

Bob Sassone, video columnist, Boston Herald

A(Ebert). Although I am opposed to colorizing black and white movies, I must confess that I have occasionally de-colorized color movies, and find that they frequently play better that way, especially if the color is either garish or faded. Recently I found that "The Barefoot Contessa" made the transition especially well.
Old 02-06-03, 11:28 AM
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While the majority of the films I enjoy are in B&W, I don't really think I like them because they're in B&W.

I think the only people that can honestly answer this poll are those who just flat refuse to give B&W films a chance because they are too "old and boring".
Old 02-06-03, 11:56 AM
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Originally posted by filmgoer
Discussing a preference between a film type is inane?
No - it's just my opinion that true movie fans should not discriminate against color or black and white by preferring one over the other. For certain movies b&w is better, for others, color is. It's a different matter entirely if color movies tend to be better than black and white movies...

Sorry, but it's just that I've heard the argument over the supposed "limitations" of black and white too many times.

I will not deny, however, that the idea of experimenting with one's color settings can be intriguing. I believe Ebert once also said "Fargo" worked very well in black and white.

Last edited by Tyler_Durden; 02-07-03 at 02:46 PM.
Old 02-06-03, 01:04 PM
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Originally posted by Gdrlv
I'd add Amelie and (to an extent) Traffic as contemporary movies that use color well. Schindler's List is a B&W film that used color well...
Lynch's "The Elephant Man" is another good example where B/W is used (thankfully)

The use of both b/w and colour is effortlessly captured in Lars Von Trier's "Zentropa"

other films where colour is essential:
"Moulin Rouge"
"Far From Heaven"
"Prospero's Books"
"Suspiria"

Last edited by Giles; 02-06-03 at 01:08 PM.
Old 02-06-03, 01:56 PM
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I think color is used when the creative forces behind the movie want to use color
I think Black and white is used when the creative forces behind the movie want to use black and white

that seems to make sense, I don't think this is somehting you can prefer until they start making movies in both formats and let you choose like between widescreen and Full Frame

Now as for which would I would rather see a movie on I would rather watch them on a color tv if that is what you mean, because that is the only possible way I can take this question to mean anything.

The Man Who Wasn't There and American History X were both great in black and white because that is how they were shot, I had no preference in the matter. If the movie is good and I can watch it and enjoy it, that is enough for me.

I DID NOT like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon dubbed ( I could only watch it for 10 minutes like that) I am glad Y Tu Mama Tambien was not dubbed because that is the way it was made, noone called me to ask me if I would like and English language track. Many of the movies are made the way the are for the people that make them, and NOT the people who see them. I can't stress the word MANY in the previous sentence enough.

side note: This post was in black and white because i chose not to add color to it.
Old 02-06-03, 02:36 PM
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In general, color, I guess, for new movies... Although I love black & white films... if you're going to film in black & white today, it better be for a good reason, and it runs the risk of seeming pretentious...

Whew. That was so totally not worth the effort.
Old 02-06-03, 04:52 PM
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The use of both b/w and colour is effortlessly captured in Lars Von Trier's "Zentropa"
Yeah, I prefer when films use B&W and Color. Solaris, Andrei Rublev, Ivan the Terrible Part 2, Phantom of the Opera, Raging Bull, Wizard of Oz, etc.
Old 02-06-03, 04:53 PM
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Originally posted by adamblast
In general, color, I guess, for new movies... Although I love black & white films... if you're going to film in black & white today, it better be for a good reason, and it runs the risk of seeming pretentious...

Whew. That was so totally not worth the effort.
guess not heheheh

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