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Corbs

'The General' (1926) colourised using AI

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This is a pretty cool use of deep learning AI, to colourise old black and white movies. The General is my favourite Buster Keaton film, and it's really impressive to see how it's coped with the colours. It doesn't always get it right, but I do enjoy it.

 

 

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The Disney movie 'The Great Locomotive Chase' was shot in colour and features original and replica locos from the Andrews Raid. (CJL)

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4 hours ago, Corbs said:

...The General is my favourite Buster Keaton film...

'Tis a thing of wonder. Given how potentially lethal the railway stunts are, I am almost surprised that it is legal to show it. The flatcar mounted mortar stunts alone are priceless.

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I used to cherish 'The General' until a few years ago when I read of the raid which it inspired. It seems there were no survivors, those Union soldiers who weren't actually killed during the course of the raid were executed as spies by the Confederates. Took the gloss of it for me, and I'm left with the feeling that perhaps it's not something that should have been created as a comedy.

 

Cheers

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Fair enough. I don’t feel the same way. Perhaps that’s due to historical distance, but then again I do love ‘Kelly’s Heroes’ too so maybe I just have a different standpoint on that sort of thing.

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Saw Kelly's Heroes last night on Turner, being Armistice Day, its always an excuse to show war movies.  I am not really a fan of '70s war films, most seem to lack the authenticity of those from earlier post war years.  The British were very good at these in that era, very stiff upper lip and all that.

The General was quite remarkable for its years, I'm not sure about colorisation though.  It never approached the quality of Technicolor and some producers thought it demeaned their B/W photography.  Think John Ford B/W westerns in Monument Valley fr'instance; while he did colour films, his B/W works stand out!  The Union troops involved in the chase probably knew that they would be considered spies and their fate was possibly less terrifying than the prospect of being locked up in a Confederate prison such as Andersonville for the duration.

     Brian. 

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I'm out.

 

I'm all for restoring movies but colourising B&W movies leaves me a bit cold. I saw Casablanca and it had been colourised, I lasted a couple of minutes before turning it off as it just didn't seem right. I'm not even old enough to really remember B&W TV, but I think things should be kept as they are. YMMV.

 

I do understand that the youngsters won't watch things in B&W. They even remade Psycho shot for shot, but in colour. It was terrible....

 

 

My mum's funny though. She's started watching the old movies and TV programmes in the afternoon but didn't realise that half of them were in colour as back in the day they only had a B&W TV. :lol:

 

 

 

Jason

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There is a great deal of information available on the Andrew's Raid for example: Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor but much of the information is derived from one of the survivors, William Pittenger.  His memoirs are available to download FOC from Project Gutenberg, e.g. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/36752/36752-h/36752-h.htm (incidentally PG has a wealth of fascinating content, albeit with a US bias),  Not all the raiders were executed but they were almost all captured.  I always found it intriguing that you could be a fugitive in your own country speaking the same language, etc but perhaps in rural Georgia any stranger would arouse suspicion and they didn't have MI9 and escape lines.

 

Last year I was able to spend a day at the museum at Kennesaw near Atlanta where the original, but much rebuilt General is preserved and on display.  The Texas is on display in Atlanta but I did not have enough time to visit both.  A couple of weeks ago I was able to spend a little time at the B&O museum at Mount Clare in Baltimore where they have William Mason which starred in the Fess Parker Disney film.  The locomotives in the Buster Keaton film were representative American types but without any connection to the Andrews Raid.

 

Regarding colourisation of monochrome photographs and films I am generally not in favour.  One recent book on railways in the Great War even showed some green L&YR coaches on its cover.  I watched Peter Jackson's partly colourised film of the Great War recently and much preferred the monochrome sections - a shame really as so many people must have worked really hard to achieve the transformation.  I had reservations about some of the sound dubbing too, but not the witness accounts from the 1960s and 70s.  I hold judgement on the revised Buster Keaton film.

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9 hours ago, PenrithBeacon said:

I used to cherish 'The General' until a few years ago when I read of the raid which it inspired. It seems there were no survivors, those Union soldiers who weren't actually killed during the course of the raid were executed as spies by the Confederates. Took the gloss of it for me, and I'm left with the feeling that perhaps it's not something that should have been created as a comedy.

 

Cheers

Not accurate.

There were no injuries during the raid itself, but most of the raiders were captured.  Some escaped, but 8, including Andrews, were hanged.

 

Imagine a raid on the Somerset and Dorset by a party of Yorkshiremen.

 

Keaton's film is very far from history; the Disney one is more accurate.

None of the original equipment was usable so they borrowed from the B & O museum, I think.

 

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Fun fact, Buster Keaton was a railfan and S scale modeller.

 

Cheers

David

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4 hours ago, BR60103 said:

 

Imagine a raid on the Somerset and Dorset by a party of Yorkshiremen.

 

Weren't they the summer saturday holiday trains?

 

Mike.

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I'm not a great fan of colourised films (the colourised version of Laurel & Hardy's "A Chump at Oxford" gives the Queen Mary turquoise funnels!). That said, colourisation often brings out details not easily discernible in B&W (and when I'm using L&H films for observation quizzes at Boys' Brigade the colour gives me more to ask questions about!).

 

However there are a couple of examples of colourisation I am in favour of - Laurel & Hardy's "Toyland" was originally intended to be shot in colour but they spent so much money on colourful sets and costumes that they couldn't afford the colour film and had to shoot it in b & w (much to Stan Laurel's distress) so it's nice to be able to see it as it was intended to be seen.

 

Likewise the colour version of the Dad's Army episode "Room at the Bottom" was lost, leaving only a black & white version which was colourised some years ago. However the colour version was shown once to great fanfare, but subsequent repeats and the DVD box set have been the b/w version!

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With very few exceptions, the creatives who made films did so in the knowledge of the limitations of the technology they were using. They designed the end result as they wanted it to be seen.

 

Colourisation is, to me, a completely weird thing to do. A bit like going to an art gallery to see Picasso's Guernica but insisting on colouring it in with my nice new crayons, as if I knew better than the artist what his painting should look like.

 

YMMV.

 

Paul

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