Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
December 02
November 13, 1986
Color Me Mad

Director John Huston, 80 years old and suffering from severe emphysema, was wheeled out with oxygen tank on Thursday 13 November to give a press conference about a plan to colorize his 1941 classic The Maltese Falcon. “It would almost seem as though a conspiracy exists to degrade our national character,” complained the legendary Hollywood director. His voice joined many others (including Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen) who spoke out against the recent decision by Ted Turner and the Turner Broadcasting System to colorize 100 famous black & white films. Turner, who’d recently purchased the MGM library, was hoping to use colorizing video technology to bring new life to old entertainment, especially since market reports indicated that both video renters and television viewers appeared to be allergic black-and-white films. But for filmmakers, this commercial ploy was abuse of corporate ownership and infringement of artistic rights.


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December 2, 1945
Penelope Spheeris born

On this day in 1945, director Penelope Spheeris was born in New Orleans.

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December 2, 1988
The Naked Gun Hits Its Target

It is relatively common these days for TV shows to be adapted into movies, but most often those films were based on successful and much-loved – not to mention long-running – series. However, in the case of The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, which was released today in 1988, the movie in question was the spawn of a TV show, Police Squad!, that had been cancelled by ABC in 1982 after only four episodes were aired. The spoof 70s style police show, however, gained cult status on the back of its silly humor, slapstick antics and intentional continuity errors. Indeed, it had such a Lazarus-like recovery to its reputation that its creators, Airplane's Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker and David Zucker, were given the opportunity by Paramount to make a feature about Leslie Nielsen's bumbling cop, Lt. Frank Drebin. Audiences responded enthusiastically to the film's inane antics and ridiculous plotlines and the movie became a massive success, raking in nearly $80m at the box office and spawning two further sequels – also starring Nielsen, and regular co-stars George Kennedy, Priscilla Presley and O.J. Simpson – both of which also were incredibly popular. The third installment, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, was released in 1994, however the franchise's success is such that Paramount is reportedly considering bringing back the characters for another outing produced by their DTV division (though probably without the involvement of Abrahams, the Zucker brothers or Nielsen).

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