Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
April 23
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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