Watch: Video Essay on Film Noir Makes 'The Case for Black and White'

February 15, 2017
Source: YouTube

The Case for Black and White

Even though the first color movies were made over 100 years ago, black & white lived on in Hollywood until the 1960s. The Academy Awards even had a category from 1939 to 1967 under Best Cinematography for black & white films, splitting the section in two. Even now, black & white is still a strong aesthetic / visual choice and some filmmakers use it effectively to tell stories. Some of my favorite recent black & white films are: Frances Ha, Ida, The Artist, Pi, Sin City, The Turin Horse, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, A Field in England, Escape from Tomorrow and Computer Chess. This new video essay from Jack Nugent looks back at film noir in the 40s & 50s to make the case for black and white, even today. It's worth a watch.

Thanks to Film School Rejects for the tip on this. Original description from YouTube: "Black and white has a gorgeous look in film. Let's take a look at Film Noir to see what it can do better than color and study how the techniques of black and white filmmaking continue to influence modern filmmaking (especially 'Breaking Bad')." This video essay was made and edited by Jack Nugent (aka "Now You See It" on YouTube) and has footage from Touch of Evil (1958), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Casablanca (1942), Point Blank (1967) and more films. Other recent black & white films include Mad Max: Fury Road's "Black & Chrome" version, and Sally Potter's The Party (which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival). Which B&W films are your favorite?

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    Some of the scenes in SKYFALL could have been amaze in monochrome.
  • Bo
    A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night was an excellent example of using black and white film and its brilliance for certain films. It certainly fit the aesthetics of the Girl film to a tee. I love the black and white photography of Welles' Touch of Evil. Coppola used it pretty effectually with Rumble Fish...even if the film itself was pretty silly and mediocre.
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  • My best B&W movie is 12 angry men.
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