“Is it black and white?” At some point, every kid will ask that question, and when it’s geared towards you, you won’t want to answer it. Why? Because chances are the movie in question is a great flick, one that you’re dying to watch, and by answering ‘yes,’ you’re afraid that its credibility will lessen. And that’s a terrible feeling.
What younger audiences always forget is that film started out black and white, and without that “prehistoric” technology, the glossy, explosion-filled action eye-candy they adore would never happen. Black and white films are a powerful art form in themselves, not just a stage before glorious Technicolor. They can emphasize theme, capture feeling and represent an idea (among other uses). Over the years, some directors have opted to make their movie monochromatic even though color was an option; the choice is not always only artistic, sometimes, it just feels like black and white is a better fit.
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And going back to the ill-conceived notion that black and white is a symbol of age and is thus inferior, some studios have re-released their older films, this time in color, in hopes of attracting the younger generations. Like a child trying to stay within the lines in a coloring book, it’s too obvious that the film has been tampered with and the movie just doesn’t feel the same.
On that note, we’ve put together a list of 6 black and white films (in no particular order) that should never be subjected to this sort of vandalism. In order to be considered here, the entire movie must be black and white and cannot switch to color at any point. Therefore, films like Kill Bill, American History X, Memento and The Wizard of Oz will not be considered. Raging Bull is accepted, however, as the home video scene is not a vital part of the narrative.
Before we begin, here are some Honorable Mentions:
Schindler’s List (the red coat is an exception to our first rule)
Some Like It Hot
The Maltese Falcon
It’s a Wonderful Life