colorization, motion picture, electronic process that uses computers to add color to black-and-white movies, creating new colored videotape versions. Invented by Canadians Wilson Markle and Brian Hunt, the process was first used in 1970 and became viable in the late 1980s. Proponents of colorization argue that it makes old movies more acceptable to the public. The process was enthusiastically backed by Ted Turner, whose 1986 proposal to colorize all the black-and-white films in the MGM archives, which he owns, led to a storm of opposition and to denunciations by such figures as John Huston, Jimmy Stewart, and Woody Allen, among others, who saw colorization is a defilement of the original work. The process became particularly controversial in the late 1980s when such monochrome film classics as Casablanca, Citizen Kane, and It's a Wonderful Life were threatened with colorization. Since that time, the demand for colorized films has greatly diminished. Some old television programs, however, continue to appear in colorized versions.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.