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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 anyand 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.
FOR THE FIRST 37 YEARS OF MY LIFE I LIVED IN EUROPE AND THUS FEEL
IS WELCOMED WITH OPEN ARMS AND ADMIRATION BY EVERYBODY, EVERYWHERE
IN THE WORLD,
THE IMPACT AMERICAN FILM HAS ON
HUNDREDS AND MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ON THE PLANET EARTH IS ASTONISHING
FREEDOM WE HAVE IN THIS COUNTRY TO TALK ABOUT OURSELVES.
END OF THE STICK YOU GRAB, AMERICAN FILM IS ALWAYS THE WINNER.
DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA, 7950 SUNSET BLVD., LOS ANGELES, CA 90046 ,
SO YOU CAN IMAGINE HOW SADDENED
I WAS WHEN, AFTER COMING
UNITED STATES, I LEARNED THAT THIS WONDERFUL AND PROUD AMBASSADOR
SECOND CLASS CITIZENS, BUT AS SAUSAGES ON THE BUTCHER BLOCK.
THEY ARE CUT, COLORIZED,
PANNED AND SCANNED,
SPED UP AND ALTERED.
AND I LEARNED IT THE HARD WAY.
IN 1979 I MADE A MUSICAL FILM FOR
UNITED ARTISTS WHICH WAS EVENTUALLY SOLD TO 115 SYNDICATED AMERICAN
MILOS FORMAN FILM).
WHEN I ASKED MY LAWYERS IF I HAD ANY PROTECTION
PROTECTED BY YOUR INDIVIDUAL CONTRACT, THERE IS NOTHING IN AMERICAN
LAW WHICH PROTECTS THE RIGHTS OF CREATIVE AUTHORS OF MOTION PICTURES.
THEM CAN DO WITH THEM ANYTHING THEY WISH.
CAN SELL THEM AFTER THE ALTERATIONS AS THE ORIGINAL WORK.
THIS GENUINELY AMERICAN ART FORM ARE MUCH BETTER PROTECTED IN EVERY
THE CIVILIZED WORLD, THAN THEY ARE IN THE UNITED
OWN IT AND NOBODY CAN PROTECT IT AGAINST ME DOING ANYTHING 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 OF MY WALL.
I STILL BE ABLE TO SELL IT AS A PICASSO OR SOMEBODY ELSE'S ORIGINAL?
I BELIEVE NOT.
DURING THE NIGHT AND CHANGED COLORS OR REPAINTED OR OTHERWISE ALTERED
WHO KNOWS WHAT WILL BE POSSIBLE WITH THE VISUAL AND AUDIO
OR DISAPPROVE ANY, AND I EMPHASIZE THE WORD ANY ALTERATION OF HIS
Senator LEAHY. Ms. Rogers, if you will just allow me a personal observation, you have brought an enormous amount of pleasure to Americans over the years. You were in one of the very first movies I saw.
Ms. ROGERS. Thank you very much, Senator.
STATEMENT OF GINGER ROGERS Ms. ROGERS. Senator Leahy, it is a great pleasure to be here and to share my feelings on this very troubling issue, and I also speak for the Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors, which voted unanimously to oppose the computer coloring of black-andwhite films.
I would like to tell you how it feels, as an actor, to see yourself painted up like a birthday cake on the television screen. It feels terrible. It hurts. It is embarrassing and insulting. It is a violation of all the care and trust that goes into a work of cinematic art.
In the movies, your face is truly your fortune. It is the focus of the art form. So, as actors, we are very concerned about our appearance on the screen. The studios spent months and even years grooming us and carefully developing an image that looked just right on black and white film. We trusted the experts—the directors, the cameramen, the makeup artists and costumers—to make us look our very best.
Our appearance and expressions are the tools we use to create a character on the screen. It is a subtle and sensitive art that is completely obliterated by computer coloring.
The camera captures a certain magic on an actor's face, a sparkle in the eye, the gleam of a tear, the slightest smile or frown on the lips. These are the nuances that go into a great performance. And these are the delicacies that are sacrificed under a smear of pink and orange frosting.
Some people think that this icing on the cake actually improves our appearance. Well, I've seen the new makeup and costumes that they have painted on me against my will, and I can tell you it is no improvement. I never would have stepped near a camera looking like that. No director, make-up man nor costumer would have allowed it.
I was outraged when I saw the computer-colored version of "42nd Street,” in which I had a supporting role. It looked as if we had all been spray painted or doused with dye. Those thrilling musical numbers suddenly looked like cheap Saturday morning cartoons. All of the detail, all of the pizazz was lost under the new paint job.
How can you accurately color a Busby Berkeley chorus line of 100 beautiful girls with their arms, legs, and costumes twirling? The answer is you can't, and you shouldn't try. All those lovely girls in “42nd Street” suddenly had the same orange face, the same orange legs, the same green costume and the same blank look. Each individual personality was actually wiped out in one long, sloppy brush stroke. I'm glad that Busby Berkeley isn't here to see what they are doing to his art. It would break his heart to see those brilliant dance numbers done-in by flat, lifeless computer color.