The death this week of Mickey Rooney got me to thinking about old movies.
I remember watching Mickey Rooney films as a child. They were in black and white and most seemed to feature horses. Or Elizabeth Taylor. Or both.
I started to think about my favourite black and white films.. started googling and then I made a startling discovery – many of my favourite B&W films are actually in colour.
I watched a lot of old movies as a child with my parents. We lived in a small bush town in Australia and only had two TV channels. Our TV was pretty old – my Dad wouldn’t buy a new-fangled colour TV when the old one worked just fine. After all – the colour on the screen didn’t change the content. Australia got colour TV in 1975 – but our family got it much later than that.
It turns out that many of the films that I fell in love with in black and white – classics like Ben Hur and Cleopatra and Breakfast at Tiffany’s are actually all in colour. I have the DVDs and tend to watch these old films when I am feeling poorly… and although the picture in front of me is colour – in my head, they are still black and white.
Some old films have been ‘colourised’ through modern technology to improve them. But the less said about that the better.
So here is a list – my favourite black and white films (the ones that really were in black and white).
So now I am thinking, if I turn the colour off on my TV –what would happen if I watched some recent films in B&W – would a monochrome World War Z have the same terror for me? Would Nicole Kidman be as haunting in B&W as Ingred Bergman was? Would I fall for a B&W Hugh Jackman the way I did for Gregory Peck?