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Old December 14th, 2010, 08:22 PM   #1
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What are the Best Old Black and White Movies?

Watched the Spiral Staircase (1945) again, I hadn't seen it since I was a little kid. As serial killer movies go it's no doubt pretty tame by today's standards and does at times boarder on the melodramatic, as many films of that era did. Don't get me wrong, it's a great movie that I'd recommend to anyone.

But the use of light and shadow is phenomenal, made me want to try my hand at black and white.

What old movies caught your eye? Some of those old black and whites put the modern fx to shame.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 09:27 AM   #2
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The Third Man. Orson Welles was pretty good at this stuff. And it has one of the best entrances in the history of movies.

And there's always Casablanca and Double Indemnity....
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Old December 15th, 2010, 11:28 AM   #3
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Raging Bull is one of the best overall movies IMHO. It is a great example of why movies should still be shot in B&W.

On the Waterfront is another great movie for it's visual artistry. Boris Kaufman's cinematography on this film is a study in how to do location lighting. Most of the scenes were shot on location at tenements and waterfront bars around new Jersey.

I also always liked the way The Hustler was shot.

There are really tons of great B&W's but these are just a few that come to mind really quickly.

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Old December 15th, 2010, 11:30 AM   #4
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Just to echo Bruce, The Third Man is an excellent textbook for low-budget
black & white filmmaking. It's one of my all-time favorite movies ever, one
of those rare gems where you pick up on something new every time you
see it (just for the record, Orson was only an actor in this movie -- it was
directed by Carol Reed).

Can't mention Orson without bringing up Citizen Kane, another must on
any list of B&W favorites...
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Old December 15th, 2010, 12:46 PM   #5
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Kurosawa's Seven Samurai
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Old December 15th, 2010, 02:40 PM   #6
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Another Orson film: Citizen Kane

Made me rethink foreground, midground and background.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 03:21 PM   #7
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Ok some are not as old but in no particular order; Das Boot, 12 Angry Men (original version) Dr. Strangelove.

these are movies I could watch many many times over and, actually, have. Not so much my wife. ;-(
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Old December 15th, 2010, 04:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
...(just for the record, Orson was only an actor in this movie -- it was directed by Carol Reed).
Yes, of course. It's been so long I had forgotten that this was one of Reed's. He was pretty good at this stuff too.
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 04:50 PM   #9
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As long as we're discussing Orson Wells work - don't forget to rent Touch of Evil and re-visit that mind-boggling first shot.

Eat your heart out Scorsese!
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Old March 7th, 2011, 07:26 PM   #10
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Re: What are the Best Old Black and White Movies?

Watch any older movies directed by John Frankenheimer. He really understood how to use B-and-W film stock to maximal effect, and his lighting is always breathtaking.

I heartily recommend "Seconds," "The Train," "Birdman of Alcatraz," "Seven Days in May," and, of course, "Manchurian Candidate."
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Old March 7th, 2011, 07:45 PM   #11
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Re: What are the Best Old Black and White Movies?

Manchurian Candidate is on my all-time top ten favorites list; thanks for the mention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
Das Boot
Sorry, Don -- not black & white.

Another Welles classic, Magnificent Ambersons, is gorgeous in B&W and
worthy of close study despite its having been taken out of Orson's hands
for the final cut (booooo RKO).
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Old March 7th, 2011, 08:40 PM   #12
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Re: What are the Best Old Black and White Movies?

Das Boot (original in german with subtitles) not B&W? I could have sworn it was. Ah well still a great film, Maybe I just see it in B&W.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 09:51 PM   #13
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Re: What are the Best Old Black and White Movies?

Rashomon (Kurosawa) - saw this again, was struck by how similar the story-telling technique is to Citizen Kane and The Social Network. Very cool.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 10:00 PM   #14
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Re: What are the Best Old Black and White Movies?

Kursosawa, Renoir, Fellini, Antonioni, Hitchcock, Ray, Truffaut, Goddard, Bergman, Ford, Lang, Ozu, Welles, Kubrick, Lumet - anything by these directors. Studying their movies alone should keep someone busy for a few years.

My personal favorite for photography on a low-budget is Rashomon.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 10:12 PM   #15
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Re: What are the Best Old Black and White Movies?

There's some great use of light or lack of in In Cold Blood.

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