The debate over "colorizing" classic
black-and-white films looms far larger than the cinema: It also
sheds light on the crux of current economic policy; and in the
process, it offers hope on both fronts.
Director John Huston speaks for most in the
Hollywood creative community...when he condemns this
computerized paint-by-numbers bastardization of such
black-and-white classics as his Maltese Falcon.
Huston cites purely aesthetic and ethical
concerns. However, because the copyrights on these works have
expired or the rights have been sold, the process has apparently
been legal; and superstation mogul Ted Turner et al.
insist that "colorization" is necessary, to presumably
attract more viewers.
Ahh, therein lies not only the problem but also
the solution...and a lesson for our national economy as well.
Perhaps unwittingly, Turner has, by such logic, conceded that
the economy is demand-sided (If it were supply-sided,
then the audience would simply accept whatever it was shown,
colored or not) -- that is the lesson for our economy as a
The solution to this particular "colorization" problem is just as obvious
-- because the
economy is necessarily demand-sided (How many businesses profit
without sales?), it is not only the right but also the
responsibility of us consumers to demand, via our
Nielsen-monitored viewing habits, only the black-and-white
versions of films created that way.
In short, because money is the only language the
"colorizing" businessmen understand, we, the people, must
band together in a boycott of "colorized" films (which is
not too painful, given their gaudy, fuzzy quality).
From the Boston Tea Party, in the 1770s, to the
housewives' meat boycott, in the 1970s, the American economy
has responded to demand-side pressure -- the cash register (as
visited after a TV commercial) is another of our ballot boxes.
And to Ted Turner I say: Mr. T., I must confess
that I, too, was utterly intrigued with the possibilities raised
by the magic of "colorization" (whose surrealism might be
voluntarily used in original creations); however, after
carefully listening to and thinking through all the pros and
cons, I have seen the light -- and it is black-and-white!
Let's preserve our good ol' entertainment as it was created,
just as you, Mr. Turner, as by supporting Jacques Cousteau, have
so actively helped preserve our good ol' environment as it was
The color of movies isn't always the color of