Archive for Eastmancolor

Peeping Tom, colour-blind

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2017 by dcairns

For some reason I suddenly became curious as to what Michael Powell and Leo Marks’ PEEPING TOM would look like in black and white.

Maybe this is partly because Powell’s forties and fifties films in Technicolor are so gorgeous. And PEEPING TOM, though shot by the gifted Otto Heller (THE LADYKILLERS, THE IPCRESS FILE), is in the grungier Eastmancolor process, and not half as beautiful. Arguably it shouldn’t be beautiful, as it’s a more squalid and grim story than, say, THE RED SHOES. But I think the moody, red-lit stuff was intended to be both sleazy and glamorous, and the muckiness of the image (not helped, probably, by the deterioration of the unstable film stock) detracts from that.


Monochrome gives the images a noir quality, doesn’t it? The location stuff gains a verité feel.

The gaudiness of the porn theme is definitely lessened, which is a loss. But it makes me think that, if it had been released in b&w, the film might not have attracted half as much critical opprobrium as it got. So we’d have lost some of the film’s transgressive ick factor, but Powell might have been able to make more movies. (Except that probably the film that really wrecked his career was THE QUEEN’S GUARDS, a major studio production which is really pretty terrible.)

Of course, we have to accept the film as it is. I was just curious. Now I’m wondering what other movies I might decolorize, like a roving anti-Ted Turner, with slimmer wallet.

Pale and Drawn

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by dcairns

I was sort of admiring the queasy sepia tones of Walerian Borowczyk’s LITTLE THEATRE OF MR AND MRS KABAL, when I realized that in fact I was looking at an Eastmancolor type print which had faded to pink. Almost totally.

In this day and age, when even some of the worst Jesus Franco movies have had loving digital restorations, old Boro is still ill-served. There are obscure editions of his early animations, and some of the later pornos are out there in nice quality copies, but, for instance, his dark masterpiece DR JEKYLL AND THE WOMEN, can be seen only via bootleg dubs of a hard-subbed VHS. And maybe it’s just the fact that I love old stuff, but I’d say that DECASIA-style nitrate decomposition makes for a far superior aesthetic effect than Eastmancolor pinking.

Here’s a live action shot from KABAL —

Boro’s rainbow family harem are now unified in puce. Alack!

More on KABAL at The Forgotten, courtesy of The Daily Notebook, soon — but my editor is currently whooping it up hard at work in Cannes, so there may be some slight delay.

Update — The Forgotten on Borowczyk.