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BLACK AND WHITE IS OFTEN SO WIDE IT ALTERS THE MEANING OF
IF I HAD PORTRAYED NEW YORK CITY IN COLOR RATHER
EVOCATION OF THE CITY FROM OLD PHOTOGRAPHS AND FILMS WOULD
IN GLORIOUS TECHNICOLOR.
WHEREAS IF I HAD FILMED "ANNIE HALL" IN BLACK AND WHITE, ALL
THE SCENES THAT NOW COME OFF AMUSINGLY WOULD TAKE A GIANT
STEP TOWARD GRIM SERIOUSNESS BY MERE VIRTUE OF THEM SUDDENLY
BEING GRITTIER AND LESS CARTOONLIKE.
ONE HAS ONLY TO THINK
OF A FILM LIKE "THE BICYCLE THIEF" AND IMAGINE THE LIFE AND
DEATH SEARCH THROUGH POST-WAR ROME FOR THE PRECIOUS BICYCLE
BEING IN REDS AND YELLOWS AND BLUES RATHER THAN THE HOT
WHITES AND DIRTY BLACKS AND GREYS AND ONE SEES HOW ABSURD THE
WHOLE THING IS.
AND IT'S NOT JUST DRAMA
BECAUSE THEY ARE BOUNCY ARE NOT HELPED BY THE ADDITION OF
COLOR WHERE IT DOESN'T BELONG EITHER.
PART OF THE ARTISTIC
EXPERIENCE OF SEEING OLD GINGER ROGERS AND FRED ASTAIRE FILMS
IS THE PERIOD QUALITY
THE BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY
GIVES IT ITS ENTIRE FEEL.
WHEN ASTAIRE MADE COLOR MUSICALS
IN A LATER PERIOD THEY HAVE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT QUALITY THAT
AND WHAT OF THE OTHER INSULTS
THE EDITING, THE ARTIFICIAL
PANNING, THE CUTS MADE TO ACCOMMODATE THE COMMERCIAL SALE OF
RESPECT FOR PEOPLE WHO CONTRIBUTE TO THE SOCIETY BY DOING
CREATIVE WORK TO ALLOW ANYONE TO SUBVERT THEIR CREATIONS AT
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
THE COLORIZERS MAY THINK THEY HAVE A LEGAL LOOPHOLE BUT THE
MORALITY OF WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS ATROCIOUS.
WITH ENOUGH CLOUT TO MAKE SELF-PROTECTING CONTRACTS THIS IS
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
BUT ONCE A FILM EXISTS
IN BLACK AND WHITE AND HAS
THRILLING AUDIENCES FOR YEARS, THEN TO SUDDENLY COLOR IT
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
THEY WILL, OF COURSE, GO BACK TO THE GREAT ORIGINALS.
PRACTICE TO CONTINUE ONE CAN EASILY PICTURE YOUNG MEN AND
WOMEN SOMEDAY DISCUSSING US WITH DISGUST AND SAYING,
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
DON'T TELL ME IT WAS THE KIND OF NATION THAT
ADORED PROFIT AT ANY COST AND HUMILIATION."
HERE I FINISH BECAUSE IT'S 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.
Senator LEAHY. Thank you, Mr. Allen.
STATEMENT OF MILOS FORMAN Mr. FORMAN. Mr. Chairman, I was born and I lived the first 37 years of my life in Europe, and that, I feel, qualifies me to testify that the only U.S. Ambassador who is welcomed with open arms and love and admiration by everybody everywhere in the world is American film. The emotional impact that American movies have on hundreds of millions of people everywhere every day is astonishing, and we can be very proud of it.
You can give the audiences Hollywood glamor. You can show them films showing our dark side, criticizing ourselves, and they admire our freedom with which we can talk about ourselves.
So, whichever end of the stick you grab, the American film always wins, except at home.
You can imagine how saddened I was when, after coming to the United States, I learned that these wonderful and proud Ambassadors of our culture, when they return home, to the homes of Americans on television, they are treated by the money people not even as second-class citizens, they are treated as sausages on the butcher block.
They are cut. They are colorized. They are panned and scanned, sped up and altered, and I learned it myself the hard way. I made a musical for United Artists, which was sold to 115 syndicated stations all over the country in the United States with nine entire musical numbers cut out, and numerous little cuts here and there throughout the whole film.
But the interesting thing is my name was still on it. The film was still sold to the audiences for profit as an original, as a Milos Forman film. I asked the lawyers if there was any way to protect my work against this mutilation. I was told if you are not protected by your individual contract, there is nothing in American law which protects the rights of creative authors of motion pictures. Whoever buys them can do with them anything they wish. They can even sell them after the alterations as the original work.
It was shocking for me to discover that the creative authors of this genuinely American art form are much better protected in every other country in the civilized world than they are in the United States. For example, if I commission a painting, it does not matter if it is a Picasso or from an unknown, it is mine. I paid for it, and I can do anything-anything. It is mine. I can do anything. I own it. Nobody can protect the painting against me doing anything with it I wish. I can change colors, I can alter the lines. I can even cut a few inches here and there to accommodate the space on my wall. But should I still be able to sell this as a Picasso or an unknown for profit as the original work? I believe not.
I realize that I am hired and paid by the money people to make a film. But so was Michelangelo whom Medici hired and paid to paint the Sistine Chapel. And still none of the Medicis went inside during the night and changed the colors or repainted or otherwise altered Michelangelo's work. But, of course, those were the Middle Ages, or were they?
Please understand one thing: I am not saying that our films are untouchable and that nothing can be altered. Of course, everything can be altered. But the only person who should have the right to alter or supervise such alterations are the creative authors of the work. Nobody else. Otherwise, we are leaving the civilized world and entering the jungle. For example, if we decide that colorization without the approval of the creative authors is permissible because colorization changes neither the story, nor the characters, nor the original negatives of the film, leads immediately to interesting ideas, one of which Woody came up with. Why not jazz up a little bit the music in “Gone With The Wind”? The kids today are into heavy metal so let's replace the soundtrack with electric guitars and drums, and we will change neither the story nor the characters nor the original negatives.
And where will you go from there? Because the technological progress will not stop. Who knows what will be possible with the visual and audio elements of the film tomorrow? My deep conviction is that if the creative authors of the films are not given the right to approve or disapprove any—and I emphasize the word any-alteration of his or her work, American film, this powerful part of American cultural heritage, will in the future be constantly humiliated and finally mutilated beyond recognition.
Senator LEAHY. Mr. Forman, you told me earlier that three films you made in Czechoslovakia were black and white. Is that correct?
Mr. FORMAN. That is correct.