Today's must read article is an offering from Stefan Kanfer (also author on several books on Film, Theater and several classic film star biographies including one on Groucho Marx) writing in The City Journal. His article, In Living Black and White, is one of the most thoughtful, engaging pieces on the importance and majesty of black and white classic films that I've read in a long time. It reminds me of similar discussions I've had in class with students who protest when we screen black and white films for class.
"The owner of my local video-rental place puts it succinctly: “Most of our customers are under 30. The way they see it, life is in color, so why not movies? Which is why we stopped offering black-and-whites, except for the classics. You know, Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Schindler’s List, maybe a couple of Woody Allens.
If that’s the current standard, libraries will soon begin removing volumes of poetry from their shelves. After all, life is in prose, so why not books? Alas, what the customers don’t realize is that B&W cinema remains vital, and often beautiful, because it’s not a reflection of everyday existence." (Kanfer, para.2-3)
If you love classic film, or if you can't get past the whole color versus black and white film thing, than this is mandatory reading. Be sure to check it out.
It's too cerebral! We're trying to make a movie here, not a film!