When Film Colorization Goes Wrong


(YouTube Link)

First motion pictures went talkie, then everybody got on board the color train, leaving those black and white gems to gather dust because later generations found the lack of color "uncool".

This video shows a side-by-side comparison of the black and white original versus the colorized version of "Smile Darn Ya, Smile" Here's how this Merry Melodies short got it's color:

...in 1992, Ted Turner paid to colorized a batch of black and white Merrie Melodies from 1931-33. This was back before computers were employed to add colors, so the cartoons were shipped to South Korea, traced frame-by-frame (well, almost), new cels were inked and painted and shot under the camera – creating a “color” cartoon from a “worthless” black & white print.

I can't believe they would go through so much trouble just to add color, and the end result looks a bit too wonky to me. But what do you guys think-with digital colorization available now, should we colorize black and white films or not?

--via Cartoon Brew


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I've never been fond of colorization, and this is a prime example of why. The colors are just so garish. In 100 years, I wonder what they'll do with movies like "Young Frankenstein"?
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I think colorization works for some films, not for others. When detaching from any nostalgic feelings associated with this Mickey Mouse cartoon, I think it looks better *with* color.
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The colorized version has removed so many of the background details as well as the pie shapes from the eyes. It sucks. I will always prefer the original - be it white, be it purple, be it whatever. Now let me go back to colorizing all those Ansel Adams Photos of Yosemite. (PS: I saw in Italia a "restored" version of the Wizard of Oz - where they colorized the beginning and ending sections of the movie!)
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Overall, color may be preferable. The original of this cartoon, however, was created to be black and white. The outlining and grayscale selection were done with the intention of bringing details to the eye without using color. In my opinion, colorizing this cartoon resulted in something that is not as visually interesting. Additionally, it destroyed the work of the artists who spent their lives developing this style. How disrespectful.
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What about recent movies shot in black and white? Should they be colorized? Seriously.

The idea is ridiculous, of course. The scene composition is so much different between the two formats. It would ruin Citizen Kane and all of Kurosawa's early work, for example.
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Check out Twaggies' very funny clip:

Give a Man a Fish - Twaggies by Twaggies
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