Classic pan-and-scan FAIL

From TAMANGO, a rather interesting piece by John Berry, the subject of this week’s Forgotten column over at the Auteurs’ Notebook. Was only able to see this in a cropped off-air VHS with wildly fluctuating colours that caused Curt Jurgens to fade from bilious green to deepest carnelian. Being the kind of actor he is, and the kind of part he’s playing, I wouldn’t put either one past him, but both seem a little much. Plus the slaves in the film are frequently a shade of maroon. I knew we enslaved the blacks, I didn’t know we did it to the maroons.

So it’s saying something that the film survives these dismal viewing conditions and comes over, as I’ll argue, with quite a bit of its power intact.

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7 Responses to “Classic pan-and-scan FAIL”

  1. Power, as in derived from Colour saturation?

  2. La Faustin Says:

    A Maroon (capital M) is a fugitive black slave of the West Indies and Guiana or a descendant of such a slave, so apparently we did, alas.

    Maroon as an adjective must thus mean “having the colour of a fugitive black slave”, which is perhaps less jawdropping in the context of the common British 19th century use of “nigger brown”, an expression that turned up in some recent Chinese promotional materials to everyone’s eventual horror. (Britain’s gifts to China: opium AND racial slurs!)

  3. I meant power as in political and emotion impact, but it’s certainly not lacking in the other kind of intensity, also.

    I might have called this post “The Color Purple”…

    Geez, I didn’t know maroon meant that. I remember Bugs Bunny using the expression as an insult, possibly a malapropism, I hope they didn’t mean anything nasty by it. Bugs did get a bit racist towards the Japanese during WWII…

  4. I know of quadroons (1/4 black) and octaroons (1/8 black), terminology used in the Old South back in the day, but maroon is a term I wasn’t acquainted with in this context.

  5. La Faustin Says:

    The term “Maroon” came from the Spanish “cimarron”, which refers to a domesticated animal having gone back to the wild. Nice cinematic connection there

  6. La Faustin Says:

    I’m sure Bugs Bunny was just malapropping the word “moron” — also a bit queasy-making today.

    But Bugs himself, I think, is an urbane sort of Maroon.

  7. He has an interesting set of characteristics, being a rustic animal with sophisticated manners and a Bronx/Brooklyn accent. The contrast between the three is electrifying!

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