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And what of the other insults—the editing, the artificial panning, the cuts made to accommodate the commercial sale of dog food and roach spray? Only in America are films so degraded. In other countries, the artist is often protected by the government. No one can change a French film director's film without his consent. They have too much respect for people who contribute to the society by doing creative work to allow anyone to subvert their creations at random.
My personal belief is, of course, that no one should ever be able to tamper with any artist's work in any medium against the artist's will and this principle can be argued justly by any citizen. It does not need a directly involved artist.
The colorizers may think they have a legal loophole, but the morality of what they are doing is atrocious. For directors with enough clout to make self-protecting contracts, this is no problem. But for those less fortunate and, of course, the deceased ones, protection must be guaranteed.
If a producer insists on color and if a helpless director is forced to film it the studio's way, despite his own feelings that it should be black and white, well, a deal's a deal.
But once a film exists in black and white and has been thrilling audiences for years, then to suddenly color it seems too great an insult, even for a society that is so often more in awe of its business executives than its creative talents.
Ultimately, of course, the colorizers will lose this battle. If it's not immediately, then future generations will for sure discard these cheesy, artificial symbols of one society's greed. They will, of course, go back to the great originals. And if we are foolish enough to permit this monstrous practice to continue, one can easily picture young men and women someday discussing us with disgust and saying, “They did this and nobody stopped them?”
"Well, there was a lot of money involved.'
“But surely the people could see the deeper value to America of its film treasury, of its image among civilizations. Surely they understand the immorality of defacing an artist's work against his will. Don't tell me it was the kind of nation that adored profit at any cost and humiliation.”
Here I finish, because it is too early to know how it turns out. But I hope dearly that I will not be part of a culture that is one day ridiculed and reviled as a laughing stock. [The prepared statement of Mr.
LET US JUST SAY THAT A VERY RICH MAN HAS PURCHASED ALL THE
FILMS EVER MADE IN HOLLYWOOD.
HE CALLS TOGETHER HIS STAFF
AND SAYS, "TAKE ALL THE BLACK AND WHITE ONES AND TURN THEM
INTO COLOR USING OUR NEW COMPUTER."
THE TECHNICIANS GET
RIGHT TO WORK IMPLEMENTING THIS BECAUSE THEY ARE USED TO
AND THE BOSS SAYS, "BECAUSE MORE PEOPLE WILL WATCH
DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA, 7950 SUNSET BLVD., LOS ANGELES, CA 90046
NATIONAL OFFICE TELEX NUMBER 181498
BLACK AND WHITE. HE POINTS TO "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE" VIEWED
BY MILLIONS EVERY CHRISTMAS
EVERY CHRISTMAS ON TELEVISION.
HE POINTS TO
"YANKEE DOODLE DANDY" AND "SERGEANT YORK" AND "CITIZEN KANE"
AND "THE MALTESE FALCON" AND "ON THE WATERFRONT".
"THEY'RE GREAT FILMS",
FILMS", THE BOSS SAYS.
GOING TO IMPROVE THEM.
THEY'LL BE GREATER WHEN I'M
FINISHED WITH THEM."
"BUT THE DIRECTOR OF 'CITIZEN KANE' IS DEAD.
WHO'LL TELL YOU WHAT COLORS IT SHOULD BE?"
"WE HAVE MEN TO DO THAT.
NEVER DIRECTED FILMS AND KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT, BUT
THEY SURE CAN WORK COMPUTERS AND BETWEEN YOU AND ME
"OH, THAT'S IN THE FUTURE", THE BOSS SAYS.
NOW, YOU MIGHT GET THE IMPRESSION FROM ALL THIS THAT I AM
AGAINST COLORIZATION OF BLACK AND WHITE FILMS, BUT BELIEVE IT
OR NOT YOU'D BE WRONG.
IF A MOVIE DIRECTOR WISHES HIS FILM
TO BE COLORIZED, THEN I SAY BY ALL MEANS, LET HIM COLOR IT.
IF HE PREFERS IT TO REMAIN IN BLACK AND WHITE THEN IT IS
SINFUL TO FORCE HIM TO CHANGE IT.
IF THE DIRECTOR IS NOT
ALIVE AND HIS WORK HAS BEEN HISTORICALLY ESTABLISHED IN BLACK
PRESUMPTION THAT THE COLORIZERS ARE DOING HIM A FAVOR AND
BETTERING HIS MOVIE IS A TRANSPARENT ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY THE
MUTILATION OF ART FOR A FEW EXTRA DOLLARS.
THE COLORIZERS WILL TELL YOU THAT IT'S PROVEN NO ONE WANTS
BLACK AND WHITE BUT THIS IS NOT TRUE AND IF IT WERE
AUDIENCES WHO HAVE GROWN UP ON MINDLESS TELEVISION WERE SO
DESENSITIZED THAT A MOVIE LIKE "IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT" WHICH
HAS BEEN DELIGHTING PEOPLE IN BLACK AND WHITE FOR GENERATIONS
NOW HAD TO BE VIEWED IN COLOR TO BE APPRECIATED THEN THE TASK
WOULD BE TO CULTIVATE THE AUDIENCE BACK TO SOME LEVEL OF
MATURITY RATHER THAN TO DOCTOR THE FILM ARTIFICIALLY TO KEEP
UP WITH LOWERED TASTES.
NOT ONLY DO THE COLORIZERS HAVE
CONTEMPT FOR THE AMERICAN PUBLIC BUT ALSO FOR THE ARTIST.
LARGE NUMBER OF AMERICAN MOVIES ARE CLASSICS BOTH AT HOME AND
77-848 0 - 88 - 2
MOTION PICTURES THAT ARE CONSIDERED GENUINE WORKS OF
COMPARABLE TO FINE LITERATURE, PAINTING AND MUSIC.
COLORIZERS HAVE NO REGARD FOR THE MEN WHO MADE THESE MOVIES
AND WHEN A GREAT AMERICAN DIRECTOR LIKE JOHN HUSTON SAYS HE
DOESN'T WANT HIS SUPERB MYSTERY "THE MALTESE FALCON" MADE
INTO A COLOR MOVIE BECAUSE THAT MAKES THIS HARD BOILED BOGART
FILM SILLY LOOKING:
THEY COULDN'T CARE LESS WHAT HUSTON
THE COLORIZERS ALSO TELL US THAT A VIEWER CAN SIMPLY
TURN OFF THE COLOR AND SEE THE FILM IN BLACK AND WHITE.
FACT THAT THE MAN WHO MADE THE FILM WANTS NO ONE AT ALL TO
SEE IT IN COLOR MEANS NOTHING TO THEM.
FINALLY, THEY SAY WE
LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY AND THE PUBLIC WANTS THESE FILMS IN COLOR
ALTERATIONS TO SUIT THEIR TASTE THE WORLD WOULD HAVE NO REAL
NOTHING WOULD BE SAFE.
PICASSO WOULD HAVE BEEN CHANGED
YEARS AGO AND JAMES JOYCE AND STRAVINSKY AND THE LIST GOES
HAVE CHOSEN ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS, EVEN FOUGHT FOR THE