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iCM Forum's Favorite Contemporary Black & White Movies; Results

500<400, Favourite 1001 movies, Doubling the Canon, Film World Cup and many other votes
blocho
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#121

Post by blocho »

What do people think about the choice to use B&W in these movies?

Back in the 40s, the choice was usually based on cost. Color was more expensive. I'm guessing that's not really a factor these days, but maybe it still was for some of the movies on this list from the late 60s and 70s (Night of the Living Dead, for example).

In some cases, I think the use of B&W was to evoke an older historical period (Paper Moon, Ida, etc.).

But in most cases, I think it's an aesthetic decision. For some movies, the B&W is used very effectively in counterpoint to shorter sequences that use color (Embrace of the Serpent, Sin City), but I'm guessing that most of the time the filmmakers just liked the way that B&W looked. And while I respect that, I don't think it really mattered for some movies. I don't think my impression of Frances Ha, for example, would have changed one bit if it had been in color.
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#122

Post by Onderhond »

It's certainly a way to hide budgetary limitations. Films like Pi, Tetsuo, Eraserhead ... would've been a lot harder to do in color, as they would've looked a lot cheaper. B&W + grain can easily hide certain imperfections.
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Lonewolf2003
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#123

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

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#9 The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011) 903.9 points
27866 checks, official lists: 8 :imdb:
16 voters
beasterne (#16)
blocho (unranked)
Caracortada (#5)
Gordon_Gekko (#51)
gromit82 (#10)
gunnar (#6)
hurluberlu (unranked>42)
lineuphere (#92)
Lonewolf2003 (unranked)
mightysparks (#16)
Mysterious Dude (#19)
Panunzio (#26)
Rufus-T (#18)
Silga (#8)
sol (#39)
zzzorf (#16)
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OldAle1
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#124

Post by OldAle1 »

Frances Ha was, as I'm sure anybody here who has seen it knows, shot in b/w because it was mimicking the early New Wave films, especially Jules et Jim. And those were shot in b/w because it was cheaper in France at the time, though by the early 60s color was just about the same cost as b/w in the USA. I think it ceased being an economic motivator pretty much everywhere in the world between 1970-75 - with a few exceptions - which makes the late 60s cutoff for the poll seem pretty sensible.

Onderhond has a good point about the budgetary limitations though - I've been watching some of Eddie Muller's videos on noir lately and one thing he mentions time and again is that some of the lower-budgeted noir from the past actually looks pretty crappy when it's put in HD because you can see how obvious the shoddy cheap sets are. Now, that doesn't personally bother me, and in fact it lends a certain charm to some of those films - but it does make them very distinct from an A picture like Sunset Boulevard and it makes the differences in production values much more stark; and it helps to explain why, in a Hollywood that had much lower budgets for A pictures than today (even adjusted for inflation), color was used only on certain kinds of films even after WWII when it wasn't quite as expensive, and people were used to it. All the films Onderhond mentions are fantastic films, surreal or weird or sci-fi, and that's an area where it's still difficult to make things look good on a low budget, so it makes sense - and if anything the b/w actually makes them seem more odd and strange and otherworldly.

Coincidentally I just came across this yesterday - as much of a purist as I am, I can't say this looks "worse" than the original, which is not notable for great photography to begin with -

Last edited by OldAle1 on May 10th, 2022, 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Lakigigar
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#125

Post by Lakigigar »

blocho wrote: May 10th, 2022, 9:47 pm What do people think about the choice to use B&W in these movies?
B&W can aesthetically look beautiful, and Onderhond is right in saying it can hide budgetary limitations in lots of ways or to reference other film / film movements or love of film in general as is said as well above.
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Lonewolf2003
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#126

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

I'm going to bed. The results will finish automatically while I'm asleep. Tomorrow I will post links to lists and stats for decades, directors and genres
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Lonewolf2003
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#127

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

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#8 The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, 2019) 931.35 points
4926 checks, official lists: 2 :imdb:
15 voters
AB537 (#7)
beasterne (#5)
beavis (#46)
blocho (unranked)
filmbantha (#19)
Gordon_Gekko (#4)
hurluberlu (#8)
lineuphere (#65)
Lonewolf2003 (unranked)
Melvelet (#7)
murnaunosferatu (#31)
Panunzio (#1)
Rufus-T (#27)
sol (#42)
TraverseTown (#25)
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Lonewolf2003
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#128

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

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#7 Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1977) 972.02 points
17917 checks, official lists: 18 :imdb:
18 voters
beasterne (#22)
beavis (#12)
filmbantha (#17)
Gordon_Gekko (#18)
gromit82 (#3)
hurluberlu (unranked>42)
lineuphere (#54)
matthewscott8 (#27)
Melvelet (#19)
mightysparks (#1)
murnaunosferatu (#5)
Mysterious Dude (#91)
Onderhond (#17)
Panunzio (#36)
pitn (#13)
sol (#50)
TraverseTown (#20)
zzzorf (#58)
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Lonewolf2003
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#129

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

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#6 Manhattan (Woody Allen, 1979) 995.41 points
22825 checks, official lists: 19 :imdb:
16 voters
beasterne (#8)
Caracortada (#2)
filmbantha (#18)
Gordon_Gekko (#36)
gromit82 (#12)
hurluberlu (#2)
Lonewolf2003 (unranked)
murnaunosferatu (#4)
Mysterious Dude (#31)
Panunzio (#23)
pitn (#5)
RogerTheMovieManiac88 (unranked>67)
Rufus-T (#26)
Silga (#18)
sol (#9)
zzzorf (#66)
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Lonewolf2003
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#130

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

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#5 Ed Wood (Tim Burton, 1994) 999.28 points
26935 checks, official lists: 8 :imdb:
18 voters
AB537 (#6)
beasterne (#3)
beavis (#41)
filmbantha (#34)
Gordon_Gekko (#47)
gunnar (#19)
hurluberlu (unranked>42)
Lonewolf2003 (unranked)
mightysparks (#12)
murnaunosferatu (#26)
Mysterious Dude (#71)
Panunzio (#42)
pitn (#24)
Rufus-T (#15)
Silga (#3)
sol (#26)
Y U M E (#10)
zzzorf (#9)
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#131

Post by AB537 »

Interesting Tim Burton's excellent biopic of Ed Wood comes up shortly after a discussion about black & white photography being used to cover up low budgets and shitty effects. Based on my one experience with an Ed Wood film - Plan 9 from Outer Space - NOTHING could cover up those effects, continuity errors etc. But the story of making that film was quite entertaining.
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Lonewolf2003
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#132

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

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#4 The Last Picture Show (Peter Bogdanovich, 1971) 1056.99 points
8213 checks, official lists: 19 :imdb:
17 voters
3eyes (unranked)
blocho (unranked)
filmbantha (#28)
Gordon_Gekko (#17)
hurluberlu (#33)
lineuphere (#36)
Lonewolf2003 (unranked)
matthewscott8 (#1)
Melvelet (#3)
murnaunosferatu (#8)
Mysterious Dude (#99)
Panunzio (#21)
pitn (#8)
Rufus-T (#11)
sol (#7)
Y U M E (#17)
zzzorf (#35)
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Lonewolf2003
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#133

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

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#3 The Elephant Man (David Lynch, 1980) 1126.19 points
30476 checks, official lists: 15 :imdb:
20 voters
3eyes (unranked)
AB537 (#9)
beasterne (#1)
beavis (#37)
blocho (unranked)
filmbantha (#30)
Gordon_Gekko (#44)
hurluberlu (#5)
lineuphere (#41)
Lonewolf2003 (unranked)
Melvelet (unranked>30)
mightysparks (#21)
murnaunosferatu (#27)
Mysterious Dude (#1)
Panunzio (#13)
pitn (#2)
RogerTheMovieManiac88 (unranked>67)
Rufus-T (#3)
sol (#88)
TraverseTown (#55)
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Lonewolf2003
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#134

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

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#2 La haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995) 1143.15 points
14866 checks, official lists: 14 :imdb:
17 voters
AB537 (#8)
beasterne (#2)
blocho (unranked)
filmbantha (#24)
Gordon_Gekko (#10)
gunnar (#7)
hurluberlu (unranked>42)
Lakigigar (#2)
Lonewolf2003 (unranked)
Melvelet (unranked>30)
mightysparks (#17)
Mysterious Dude (#53)
Panunzio (#2)
peeptoad (#15)
pitn (#17)
Silga (#9)
Teproc (#1)
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Lonewolf2003
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#135

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

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:banana: #1 :banana: Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993) 1431.33 points
88454 checks, official lists: 32 :imdb:
19 voters
3eyes (unranked)
beasterne (#6)
Caracortada (#8)
filmbantha (#2)
Gordon_Gekko (#3)
gromit82 (#1)
gunnar (#1)
hurluberlu (#31)
Lakigigar (#7)
Lonewolf2003 (unranked)
mightysparks (#18)
murnaunosferatu (#6)
Mysterious Dude (#2)
Panunzio (#32)
pitn (#33)
Rufus-T (#1)
Silga (#4)
sol (#25)
zzzorf (#23)
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mightysparks
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#136

Post by mightysparks »

Didn’t think Schindler’s List would win a poll here lol. Thought Eraserhead would be #1 :shrug:
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St. Gloede
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#137

Post by St. Gloede »

Thanks for the hard work, Lonewolf, and indeed Lauren, I had not expected that win either. Good news for Spielberg fans everywhere.
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Lonewolf2003
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#138

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

STATS

Decades

60s11
70s17
80s19
90s16
2000s16
2010s17
2020s4


Stands out that there are 11 from the 60s, which are only two years ('68 and '69). For the other decades it's evenly divided.

Genres

Action2
Adventure3
Animation4
Biography13
Comedy28
Crime12
Documentary2
Drama78
Family2
Fantasy14
Film-noir0
History12
Horror13
Music3
Musical1
Mystery9
Romance15
Sci-Fi11
Sport1
Thriller15
War7
Western1


So which directors like to work in b&w the most? (From who we like their movies)

Directors

Woody Allen5
Béla Tarr
Guy Maddin
4
Jim Jarmusch
Tim Burton
3
Ágnes Hranitzky
David Lynch
Gakuryû Ishii 
Joel Coen
Pawel Pawlikowski
Peter Bogdanovich
Wim Wenders
Yoshishige Yoshida
2
Others
Abel Ferrara
Akio Jissôji
Alain Robbe-Grillet
Alexander Payne
Alfonso Cuarón
Ana Lily Amirpour
André Bonzel
Andrew Bujalski
Andrzej Wajda
Anton Corbijn
Ben Wheatley
Benoît Poelvoorde
Bernard Queysanne
Bob Fosse
Carl Reiner
Charles Burnett
Christopher Nolan
Ciro Guerra
Darren Aronofsky
David Fincher
Denis Villeneuve
Éric Rohmer
Esteban Sapir
Frank Miller
Frantisek Vlácil
Gary Ross
George A. Romero
George Clooney
Grzegorz Królikiewicz 
Ildikó Enyedi
Ingmar Bergman
Jean Eustache
John Cassavetes
Juraj Herz
Karel Kachyna
Károly Makk
Kenneth Branagh
Kevin Smith
Kôhei Oguri
Larisa Shepitko
Larry Blamire
Lars von Trier
Linh Viet
Luc Besson
Marcel Ophüls
Martin Scorsese
Martti Helde
Marv Newland
Mathieu Kassovitz
Mel Brooks
Michael Haneke
Michel Hazanavicius
Miguel Gomes
Noah Baumbach
Pablo Berger
Peter Watkins
Quentin Tarantino
Rainer Sarnet
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Rebecca Hall
Rémy Belvaux
Robert Eggers
Robert Rodriguez
Shin'ya Tsukamoto
Shôhei Imamura
Steven Spielberg
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Toshio Matsumoto
Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
Vitali Kanevsky
Yoshihiko Matsui
1
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#141

Post by peeptoad »

Thanks Lonewolf. The complete list is interesting. There's a film from 1940s on there for starters, and I think I also personally misread the guide as I included a few films from 1967. Didn't realize 68 was a hard cutoff...
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Lonewolf2003
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#142

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

peeptoad wrote: May 11th, 2022, 10:26 am Thanks Lonewolf. The complete list is interesting. There's a film from 1940s on there for starters, and I think I also personally misread the guide as I included a few films from 1967. Didn't realize 68 was a hard cutoff...
Thanks. '68 wasn't a hard cutoff, most others just didn't include any movies from before that. Maybe cause they used my IMDb search link, maybe for other reasons.

I did look for pre-60s movies that could be ineligible. The 40s movie was released decades later, so on IMDb it's listed as a 1980 movie. That's why I missed it. Well it only had 1 vote, so won't make a major impact on the results.
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St. Gloede
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#143

Post by St. Gloede »

What was the 40s film?
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#144

Post by Tim2460 »

Thx Lone Good Work as always !
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peeptoad
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#145

Post by peeptoad »

Lonewolf2003 wrote: May 11th, 2022, 10:35 am
peeptoad wrote: May 11th, 2022, 10:26 am Thanks Lonewolf. The complete list is interesting. There's a film from 1940s on there for starters, and I think I also personally misread the guide as I included a few films from 1967. Didn't realize 68 was a hard cutoff...
Thanks. '68 wasn't a hard cutoff, most others just didn't include any movies from before that. Maybe cause they used my IMDb search link, maybe for other reasons.

I did look for pre-60s movies that could be ineligible. The 40s movie was released decades later, so on IMDb it's listed as a 1980 movie. That's why I missed it. Well it only had 1 vote, so won't make a major impact on the results.
Ah, gotcha, That makes sense. Thanks again :thumbsup:

St. Gloede wrote: May 11th, 2022, 10:44 am What was the 40s film?
Let There Be Light
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Lakigigar
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#146

Post by Lakigigar »

Seen 14 out of 100 but it still has a lot of interesting films i definitely need to see one time.
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matthewscott8
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#147

Post by matthewscott8 »

I'm surprised no-one pushed for Mad Max: Fury Road, the black and chrome edition is the director's preferred version and I know people here like the movie.

Whilst I generally dislike the take that a movie is pretentious I often feel like the choice to go black and white is done for pretentious reasons, and the top 20 is pockmarked with examples of that to my mind. The other 80 much less so. I think I would have felt particularly queasy if not for the saving grace of The Last Picture Show so high up the results.
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#148

Post by beasterne »

Thanks for running Lone! This was a poll I was really interested in, and the results are nice to see. I can definitely see myself using this poll to find b&w films to check out in the future.
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