Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
November 24
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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Emir Kusturica November 24, 1954
Emir Kusturica born

Emir Kusturica, one of the most acclaimed figures in world cinema, was born on this day in 1954 in Sarajevo, the former Yugoslavian city which is now the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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November 24, 1948
The Bicycle Thief released

When Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief opened in New York, many heralded it as the finest realization of the Italian Neo-Realist style.

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November 24, 1947
Making a Black List

On 24 November, 1947 –– just days before Thanksgiving –– the House of Representatives voted 346 to 17 to approve citations against the famed Hollywood Ten for contempt of Congress. A month before, the House Un–American Activities Committee (HUAC) had turned its attention to Hollywood, calling up 43 people whom they suspected of communist sympathies, eventually whittling that list down to 11. Of these, Bertolt Brecht agreed to answer questions and immediately left the country. The remaining ten – nine screenwriters and one director – stood pat in their belief that the Fifth Amendment provided a Constitutional right for them not to testify against themselves. The House of Representatives’ vote on 24 November, however, disagreed. The next day, Hollywood joined in, suspending pay for the Hollywood Ten and issuing a joint statement showing their solidarity to fight the red menace. The top studios publicly proclaimed that they would fire anyone who was or had been a communist, and would not hire anyone with communist sympathies (proved or otherwise). Within weeks, scores of studio employees were on the street, pounding the pavement for another job. And the Hollywood Blacklist had officially begun and was in full force.

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