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Legal Issues that Arise when Color is Added to Black-and-White Movies, by the Committee on the Judiciary, May 12, 1987

During its two-year inquiry, Congress heard testimony for and against colorization from prominent individuals within the film industry. Subsequently in the Film Preservation Act of 1988, Congress affirmed the right of film artists to have audiences notified of the original format and intent of their work.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

Legal Issues that Arise when Color is Added to Black-and-White Movies, by the Committee on the Judiciary, May 12, 1987

Preserving American Films

Congress took action to preserve classic American films in 1988, after the Turner Entertainment Company announced it would “colorize” classic black-and-white movies purchased from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). After major Hollywood actors and directors led a public outcry, Congress investigated the issue and passed the National Film Preservation Act. The act established the National Film Preservation Board and the National Film Registry and restricted colorization of landmark films. The National Film Registry, administered by the Library of Congress, comprises films designated for preservation because of their cultural significance.

It makes me mad. . . . The scenes were washed away in a bath of Easter egg dye. The tinting obscured the nuances of expression and character that actors work so hard to create on film.

Jimmy Stewart, Letter Presented at Senate Hearing, 1987