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Senator LEAHY. Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Allen.
Mr. SILVERSTEIN. Senator, I would like to call your attention to the next step the computer is liable to take which will give this whole country pause, including the political community.
The quote is from “Special Effects by Christopher Finch.” 1 It relates to the uses of the Cray computer, and it says:
Our notion is to use the computer to create lifelike characters who are modeled after known personalities. It will take 5 or 10 years to solve the problems, but it will be possible to create the likeness of a human being with such a degree of precision that the viewer won't be able to tell what is wrong with it. It is not just the appearance either. It will be possible to generate speech electronically and the result will evoke an emotional response. We may be able to recreate stars of the past, Clark Gable and Rita Hayworth, cast them in new roles, bring them forward into time in new settings, and then you have got John Wayne on file. You can put him in any role you simulate.
I personally asked a gentleman associated with this company how far he could go, and I saw a demonstration of the early phase, and it is quite impressive. He said to me, and it was quite fascinating, that he could make the President of the United States make any statement he wished to at that point, and the only difficulty he was having was in encoding the drapery on his clothes.
Senator LEAHY. Didn't Mr. Allen do this already with his movie “Zelig”?
Mr. ALLEN. With my consent, I did it.
Mr. SILVERSTEIN. We have one final presentation if you are ready to receive it, Mr. Huston.
Senator LEAHY. Before you do, I find that, of course, a matter of concern. It is funny in Max Headroom. It doesn't become funny if it goes beyond that.
Mr. Forman, did you want to add something? You heard the series of questions.
Mr. FORMAN. Well, I would just bring to your attention that if the artist's right to approve or disapprove any alteration of his work is not protected, that means that his work can be altered by anybody who has the power over his work. You are opening the door to censorship.
Senator LEAHY. I might say, and I don't intend to make this a pun, but it is very much a black-and-white question. Your position is that film should not be changed for any reason whatsoever unless the director says OK. Is that the bottom line?
Mr. ALLEN. Yes.
Mr. SILVERSTEIN. Yes. We want to present to you a 412-minute statement on tape by Mr. John Huston who, regrettably, could not be with us today, and we are grateful to you for receiving his testimony on tape.
1 Library of Congress Cataloguing in publication data. Finch, Christopher, Special Effects, ch. 21, p. 240 1. Cinematography-Special Effects. 1. Title Tr. 858.F56, 1984; 778.51345; 84-9180; ISBN 0-89659-452-1.
Senator LEAHY. The testimony will be received on tape and it will be made a part of the record as though he has presented it here. [Text of the tape, referred to above, follows:]
TAPED STATEMENT OF JOHN HUSTON Ladies and gentlemen of the Congress, I come before you on behalf of many others to make a simple appeal-save my work.
We are, all of us, the custodians of our culture. Our culture defines not just who we are, but who and what we were. Those of us have labored a lifetime to create a body of work look to you for the preservation of that work in the form we choose to make it. I believe we have that moral right, even in the face of what sometimes appears to be a conspiracy to degrade the national character. To bring it down to the lowest denominator, to condition it to accept falsehood at face value.
In 1941 I directed a film entitled “Maltese Falcon”, it was made in black and white, just like sculptors choose to make something in clay, or cast it in bronze, or carve in marble. It is not to be conceived in any other way than black and white.
On the night that I looked at—or tried to look at—a computer-colored version of “Maltese Falcon”, I asked myself if such an example of mindless insipidity could be worth anyone's attention in this threatened world. A world beset by terrorists. The answer, of course, is most certainly, for its very mindlessness in the first place allows for assaults of the crazed zealots. "The Maltese Falcon" has been colored by Ted Turner, who announced, somewhat smugly, when he heard the thunderclap of protest to the computer coloring of my film, that the last time he looked, he owned it. Having said that, he probably slept well that night after he obliterated the work of some of the artists and embarrassed others who were living, including me.
A director is a guide to the other film artists involved in the making of a movie. His presence offers a protection for them. He tries not to ask of them anything that will make them appear as less than their best. In fact they know that one of his tasks and his skill is to get every one of them to do more and better than they thought they could. They are a kind of family and the director is a kind of father or mother as the case may be. And when he or she does his or her job they trust the director. In the case of “Maltese Falcon”, that trust along with our work itself has been obliterated.
The work of Arthur Edeson, the director of photography, was obliterated by some engineer's idea of what was good color, painting by the computer numbers on the back of Edeson's light and shadow.
Robert Haas, art director-obliterated. His sets designed for black and whitesplashed over with pale and faded colors.
The work of Perc Westmore—the makeup artist-obliterated! New electronic flesh tones added, like embalmer's pancake makeup; shadows and character lines on faces eliminated in an electronic wash.
Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor so properly careful of how they looked before they stepped before the camera-bushwhacked by the coloroids when they are unable to defend themselves. All of these who had trust in me and I who had trust in them and in the film and it's future-bushwhacked! And this is only one film and and I am only one director and these are only a few of the artists who will be subjected to an eternal unjustified public humiliation joyfully presented as entertainment by the vandals whom we of the Directors Guild oppose today.
Save the past for the future! Every future needs a past upon which to build itself and to define itself. Provide some protection for the film artists of the United States and for the work they have produced which has become such a popular art for the Nation. Preserve the way we saw ourselves! Preserve the memory of both the limitation of available techniques and the way we worked within them.
The truth is what is at issue here. Historical truth. That truth is being cynically distorted for future generations by those to whom truth means nothing
Mr. SILVERSTEIN. May we also put in the record a number of statements by all the artistic guilds in Hollywood, plus the National Association of Critics?
Senator LEAHY. It will also be made part of the record. [Statements submitted for the record follow:]
National Society of Film Critics
101 West 12th Street
THE NATIONAL SOCIETY OF FILM CRITICS The National Society of Film Critics is comprised of critics of the country's major, general-interest publications. Founded in 1966, the Society differs from other critical associations in a number of significant ways. In the first place, it is truly national. Its forty-two members include not only the critics from The New York Times and Daily News, but also critics from the two Los Angeles dailies, along with the major critics of Boston and Chicago. The critics of Time, Neveveek, New York and the New Yorker are members, but so are the critics of Vanity Fair The Village Voice, Vogue, and such far-flung outposts as Pacific Northwest and Bennington Review.
Secondly, membership is by election: critics become members because their peers deem them worthy, not just because they've managed to land a job in movie criticism.
Over the years, the Society has published six volumes of its annual compilation, as well as The National Society of Film Critics on Movie Comedy (1977) and The National Society of Film Critics on the Movie Star (1981), both still in print. The group can genuinely be said to represent the best of contemporary American film criticism.
Besides responding to specific issues, the Society regularly meets early in January to vote on the Society's awards for the finest film achievements of the year. Avards go for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography, and, should the Society choose to award one, Best Documentary.
This year's meeting will be held on Sunday afternoon, January 4, 1987, at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City. The current Chairman 1s Stephen Schiff of Vanity Fair.
For further information, call Executive Secretary Elisabeth Weis at 212 989-1767.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TH NATIONAL SOCIETY OF FILM CRITICS
101 West 12th Street
December 27, 1986
FILM CRITICS PROTEST USE OF COLORIZATION
The National Society of Film Critics released to the press a copy of a
petition urging "an immediate halt to colorization and to the sale, exhibition, and broadcast of colorized films."
The petition was sent to Ted Turner, head of Turner Broadcasting, whose
stations have been televising colorized versions of Hollywood classic films to
which Turner has acquired the rights, and to Joseph A. Adelman, Senior Vice
President of Color Systems Technology, Inc., also a company involved in
The complete text of the petition reads:
"We, the undersigned members of the National Society of Film Critics,
representing America's major nevepapers and magazines, strongly protest the
use of 'colorization' to alter black-and-white films without the consent of
We consider colorization a barbarism and a betrayal not only
of the filmmakers' intentions but of the very notion of film as an art form. We therefore urge an immediate halt to colorization and to the sale, exhibition, and broadcast of colorized films. "
Marta Alan Forder
Los Angeles Local
January 12, 1987
Mr. Michael Franklin
Board of Directors
The Los Angeles Local Board of Directors, at its
Mark Alan Fabbey
Dictated but not read
Executive Secretary SCOTT NOSTAJA Assistant
Executive Secretary MISCH ADELL
JAN 13 1987
MTONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR