Posted on Thursday, August 6th, 2015 by Ethan Anderton
Ever since motion pictures began adopting Technicolor, the once-traditional use of black and white photography eventually went out the window. After all, an overwhelming majority of the population sees the world in full color, so why wouldn’t they want to see movies in the same way?
But while most of our movies are presented in color today, whether it’s tinted, saturated, toned, there are still plenty of respectable and mesmerizing movies from past and present that look positively stunning in black and white. From Stanley Kubrick’s Killer’s Kiss in 1955 to Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List in 1993 to last year’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, there’s some amazing black and white imagery here.
Watch the black and white movies supercut after the jump!
Here’s Bright Night – Visions in Black and White from Zack Prewitt’s Plot Point Productions:
Other films including in the above supercut include Woody Allen’s Manhattan, Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumblefish, Joel & Ethan Coen’s The Man Who Wasn’t There, Orson Welles’ The Stranger, Steven Soderbergh’s The Good German, Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull and many more.
While some consider shooting in black and white to be very pretentious and even elitist, the fact is that it’s a very conscious choice by the director to set the proper tone for their film. The black and white palette adds something to each and every one of these movies, and you wouldn’t want to see them any other way, regardless of what Ted Turner thinks.
One of my personal favorites is Good Night and Good Luck from director George Clooney. Aside from the fact that the film is shot beautifully, the decision to shoot in black and white resulted from how people traditionally saw the main character, real life news anchor Edward R. Murrow, played by David Strathairn.
Since Murrow had been exclusively seen in black and white on television, Clooney thought it would be jarring to show Murrow in color, so the whole movie is in black and white. It also makes the jump into real news footage of Senator Joseph McCarthy feel seamless. This is probably one of the more practical decisions to shoot in black and white (some films were shot that way because it’s cheaper too), but once that decision is made, the director of photography makes the aesthetic work so the images still pop off the screen.
Keep in mind that this video isn’t meant to include every single instance of gorgeous black and white cinematography, so you can chime in with some of your favorite black and white movies in the comments below. Thanks to The Playlist for bringing this video to our attention.Cool Posts From Around the Web: