Better in Black and White

Stefan Kanfer, at the City Journal, on films in black and white (Link from Arts & Letters Daily):

Gregg Toland, the greatest cinematographer of his generation, never shot in color. He and his A-picture directors, including John Ford, Orson Welles, and William Wyler, preferred to give audiences the sense that they were watching a suite of etchings. Who needed color when the haunting landscapes of Wuthering Heights materialized on screen, as if photographed in Emily Brontë’s nineteenth century? Or when Citizen Kane’s deep-focus montages breathed life into the story of a fatally ambitious press lord?

Those of us in the Twin Cities are fortunate to have a good cinema culture that screens many of the black and white films Kanfer mentions. If you don’t have access to film revivals, though, TCM and Netflix do an outstanding job of making these films easily available.

3 Responses to “Better in Black and White”

  1. Dani in NC Says:

    AMC used to show great black-and-white films, too, but now their idea of “classic” doesn’t seem to go back any further than the 1980s :-p. The only time I watch AMC now is for Mad Men.

  2. girldetective Says:

    Did AMC run commercials during their showings of classic movies? That’s what I love about TCM–they’re uninterrupted.

    I also watched Breaking Bad on AMC and look forward to it starting up again. I think it’s interesting to see how they’re moving away from what they started with and doing well with independent programming–tons of Emmy awards!

  3. Dani in NC Says:

    Back in the day, the only difference between AMC and TCM was which studios they had contracts with, which affected which movies they could show. They both showed classic black-and-white movies with no commercial interruption. I stopped watching both stations for a while but when I came back, AMC had commercials and stopped showing classics.

    Don’t get me wrong; I applaud AMC for coming up with original programming. I was a fan of their show “Remember WENN” back in the 1990s. I just miss having another station that shows movies from 1930s-1960s.