A great topic for a black and white movie: The KKK

Finally saw "Storm Warning" the movie about the KKK that was done in black and white.  Believe it or not it stars Ronald Reagan as a crusading District Attorney determined to take down the KKK in a southern town in 1951.  He actually comes across as a rather charismatic hero.  The whole premise is unbelievable however.  The movie doesn't explain how someone who opposes racism could possibly have been elected as a District Attorney in the old south.

But if you ignore that, the movie has a rather cool film noir style that works well for the dark subject matter.  In my opinion there is just no way the film would work as well if it had been done in color.

So the question of the day is:  if you had the power to make movies, which ones would you make in black and white instead of color?  Film noir is the obvious choice so try to come up with something else.

{;-) Dan in Miami

 


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Science Fiction

Rajah's picture

I grew up on the old horror and sci-fi films. Black and white film produces a good effect with shadows, it's much more sinister and dark

A good recent one made in black and white is The Elephant Man

"Touch of Evil" by Orson Wells wouldn't be the same in color

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Haven't seen it in a long time.  Right now I have the "director's cut" version from Netflix.  This is the version they came up with after using his 48 page memo on how to re-cut the film.  The original version that bombed in the theaters was a version that the studio did after Wells lost control of the movie.

It should be much more sinister in black and white.

{;-) Dan in Miami

Orson Wells didn't like colored movies

Rajah's picture

What a bigot!

B&W ensures that whatever color goo you're using...

TMundo's picture

...still shows up black on camera, whether it's red, green or purple.

It gives the film a cheap low budget quality, so in many cases, if you have a chance to see the film, it means somebody's picked it up for production and distribution.  A company wouldn't do that if the film wasn't better than usual.  The plot and storyline overcomming the fact that the film is b&w.  B&W can also give a film a vintage look which can benifit the feel of the film, or actually pull a real doozy on the audience if the film take an unepected non-50's turn.

Here are some modern films I've seen or heard of that are b&w.

-- Clerks -- overated I say, I can see why people found it funny, I think the comedic material was there, but I felt it failed in its delivery of that material.

-- Following -- One of Christopher Nolan's earlier films.  Excellent film, low-budget as in no special effects or explosions but great in it's plot and storyline.  Some call it noir, I don't think it qualifies as noir.

-- Shindler's List -- There are probably numerous reasons as to why this film was done in black and white, too many for me to  mention on my lunch break, but I'm sure you can think of some.

-- Raging Bull -- I have yet to see this, but it's reguarded as a masterpiece by many.

"Touch of Evil" benefits from being in black and white

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Saw it last night with the Netflix DVD.  It is much more sinister and sleazy in black and white. 

"Ragging Bull" achieves a period feel from the fact that it is black and white.  You feel like you are going back in time because of it.  The fight sequences are just staggering and more brutal because they AREN'T in color.  Of course it also helped that I saw the movie for the first time on the big screen.

{;-) Dan in Miami

That's what I meant when I said a b&w film can mislead...

TMundo's picture

...you into thinking you're in an old fim and then suprise you with something that wouldn't be in an old film.

Yesssss, that's the effect Elephant Man had

Rajah's picture

It looked like Victorian times

I heard Brooks really helped Lynch out in that one...

TMundo's picture

...that people were saying Hey, you can't do this, I'I'm assuming it was the way he decided to shoot certain scenes, or some of the montages perhaps.  In any case, David said that's when Mel Brooks jumped in and settled things, and allowed Lynch top do what he wanted.  As a result, the film was nominated for an academy award, up against Raging Bull.  Or was it for cinematography, I can't remember.  It was so long ago, that I saw some interview that gave me this info.  Yeah well I'm young, it ain't my fault.  It's not really a fault at all.

In other statements, I recall the original Outer Limits series being filmed in b&w with a few innovations that irked some folks.  Something about a monster in the show having its head censored because it was thought to be damaging to young minds.

THE ELEPHANT MAN was photographed by Freddie Francis

FearlessFreep's picture

In addition to cinematography, he also directed quite a few British horror movies in the '60s, including one called MUMSY, NANNY, SONNY AND GIRLY. (Don't know anything about it, but I love that title!)

Signed, 

The artist formerly known as Zorro.

My pet peeve

FearlessFreep's picture

It's common in historical dramas to show the dramatic, re-enacted stuff in color and the archival footage in its original B&W. But in the movie JFK and some cheap TV history shows they've put some RE-ENACTED scenes in B&W too!  Ostensibly, that's so those re-enactments will feel authentic, but I think it fudges the line between what we're sure is re-enacted and what we know is archival. (Not that JFK is a paragon of historical rigor.)

Signed, 

The artist formerly known as Zorro.

Is Jennifer Connelly even sexier in Black & White?

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

One of my major guilty pleasures is "Mulholland Falls"  (1996).  It's a trashy depiction of the seedy underbelly of 1950's LA and the hard-boiled cops who want to keep the mob out of town.  In other words a fantasy.  The cops are pretty much as bad as the crooks.  They take revenge on anyone who done them wrong. Might makes right etc.

Oh and did I mention that Ms. Connelly does some totally hot nude scenes?  And they are done in black and white just to make them even steamier?

{;-) Dan in Miami

Jennifer Connelly

RidingFool's picture

and her eyebrows mimic the shape of her breasts - upside down, of course.

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