Original Movie in Color, Sequel in Black and White

Clearly this thread is going to be mostly about older films*. Sometimes they pulled out all the stops on a movie and splurged on color stock, but when they went back to try and grab some extra bucks with a sequel, they didn’t think it worth the money or effort, and made the sequel in black and white.
1.) Original: Doctor X; Sequel The Return of Dr. X – The first film was part od an effort by First National to market color horror/mystery pictures using what is often called “two strip” Technicolor. How well this worked out is shown by how nobody remembers these films now, but everybody remembers the Universal Horror films. Anyway, Doctor X is an interesting bit of nostalgia from 1932 in oddly tinted color. Things like a globe or a green dress leap out at you, in contrast with the gray palette of most other movies from back then. But for the sequel (made seven years later), they kept it in cheap black and white. The sequel would probably be completely forgotten today, except that it features a pre-famous Humphrey Bogart playing, of all things, a vampire.

2.) Original: The Fly ; Sequel: Return of the Fly – The 1958 original is an adaptation of George Langelaan’s famous short story (that originally appeared in Playboy) about a teleportation experiment gone horribly wrong. as I noted in a piece I wrote for Teemings, this wasn’t by any means the first time that idea had been fielded, but it was the most famous, probably because of its publication in Playboy and this film. The original movie (1958) isn’t bad, with some cute touches. The sequel (1959) was definitely done on the cheap, not only with black and white film, but also with really bad special effects. They also cut out a lot of the writing that encouraged Vincent Price to sign up for the film – the final product severely clips his role. About the only things the film has going for it are a much bigger “fly” mask and the only happy ending of any of the five movies resulting from Langelaan’s short story.

3.) Original: Forbidden Planet ; Sequel: The Invisible Boy – Forbidden Planet (1956) is one of the best science fiction movies ever made, with a much more lavish budget than most 1950s SF films got, great special effects, and a literate script. It all stands up pretty well today, including a lot of the effects – the film’s deficiencies these days being its 1950s sexism, the lack of computers (despite Robby’s presence), and the different path technology has taken since the film was made. The Invisible Boy was clearly a kid’s movie, which probably explains why it was given the low-budget treatment. Exactly how it fit in with FP hasn’t been clear to me, since it seems to be set in the 1957 it was made in, but Robby – the only real link with FP – is described as having come from a space ship and inexplicably disassembled. Timmy (played by Richard Eyer, who would go on to play the genie in Seventh Voyage of Sinbad two years later) re-assembles him and together they destroy a super-computer with designs of world domination. An interesting, off-beat flick. The title comes from Robby giving Timmy an invisibility treatment at one point in the film, but his invisibility isn’t the main plot driver.
Any others?

*Although Mad Max – Fury Road has also been released in a black and white format, which makes the film seems somehow grittier and more “artistic”

Is Rumblefish a sequel to The Outsiders? If so, it might qualify.

Seems to be: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumble_Fish

Oh, why do I know this: the first Human Centipede movie was in color, and its sequel was in black and white. The third is in color and is shoot-yourself-in-the-face awful. I think it’s on Netflix!

Not really true sequels, but Fassbinder’s BRD trilogy has two in color and one in black and white. The first is The Marriage of Maria Braun, which is in color, though very muted. The second is Veronika Voss, which is in black and white. It may be the starkest black and white movie that I’ve ever seen, as there are very few grays in the movie. The third is Lola, which is in eye-popping color.

I think Lola was released before Veronika Voss, though it is usually thought of as the third of the trilogy. For some reason…

Sorry to not be able to come with an example like the other good ones here, but the mention of Forbidden Planet and its pseudo-sequel reminds me of the production of Them (1954).

It started life as a 3D color film. Then very early in production the 3D was dropped, but not before some 3D-friendly shots were setup in the final production and the use of washing machine agitators and fluid build into the title characters eyes for a dramatic color 3D effect.

Then later in production color was dropped by Warner Brothers when they panicked over the projected budget. The only surviving color aspect in the movie is the opening title on some prints struck to use color in the process. The Blu-Ray release of the movie has it.

Still, a brilliant film and a rarity for its type as studios soon learned they could produce similar movies on the cheap without the budget for cinematography, talent, effects, etc. and still make comparable profits.

Obviously, shooting the second movie in black and white was done to save money. Color film was more expensive in those days.
But today, would you save any money shooting in black and white? Or is black and white film now a specialty item that is MORE expensive than color? (Of course, that’s assuming you use film at all in these digital days!)

I wasn’t aware of this, but it makes sense – several shots are 3D-worthy (such as the ant breaking in and grabbing the radio man at one point), and the giant “practical” ant would make for awesome 3D.

Another film that was supposed to be a big-budget color production, but got cut by jittery movie execs to a black and white release was the Merian C. Cooper 1934 version of She. The fact that it was supposed to be in color all along is what encouraged Ray Harryhausen to work on the colorized version, giving a glimpse of what might have been if they had stuck to it. I obtained a DVD of it a couple of years ago and still re-watch it from time to time.

That’s a great question. I would guess processing in B/W might be more expensive if needed equipment and/or film is harder to find. And even on digital where I presume there would be no extra technology required, a lot of work goes into lighting and I would imagine that setting that up for B/W might be enough of a lost art to require more expensive talent.

To add to this, shooting in B/W also requires costuming, sets, and makeup to be dramatically different to look good on the final film. All that other work might cost more $$$ in harder-to-find expertise as well.

For an example, here’s a HuffPo article showing the 60’s TV show The Addams Family sets in color to show what it takes to give it the required look in B/W. The Addams Family sets as you’ve never seen them before. They’re not what you’d expect!

The Invisible Boy is a sequel to Forbidden Planet only in the same sense that X-Men is a sequel to Lord of the Rings, due to Ian McKellan being in both.

And yes, IMDb has an “actor” page for Robby. He actually has quite an impressive filmography.

Sure, if you actually shoot on black and white film, that could be more expensive. But they’d likely shoot in color and then color grade it to black and white. The cheapest way might be to just make sure that what you film would look good in black and white and just do a quick conversion. I’ve seen this done by independent movie creators on YouTube.

What I found funny about that movie is the “human-fly” is not played by the actor who’s the scientist but a stuntman who looks to be about 6 inches taller and 50 pounds heavier.

It’s been decades since I saw it, but I believe The Invisible Boy does contain some indications that the “Robby” in the movie is supposed to be the Forbidden Planet character (and has somehow time-traveled from the 23rd century to 1957). Yes, I realize that doesn’t make any goddamn sense. :smiley:

I agree that it’s not a sequel; I’d call it a standalone film with a crossover character.

Not quite the same thing but the 1961 film “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” was in color. When they made it into a TV series in 1964, the first season was in black and white. Virtually no one from the movie was in the series except Del Monroe played Seaman Kowski in the film and Seaman Kowalski in the series.

The Return of Dr. X is not in any way, shape or form a sequel to Dr. X. “The Return” refers to an executed doctor who comes back from the dead, not the return of a character from a previous movie.

Curse of the Fly (1965), the second (and superior) sequel to The Fly is also in b&w.

The Return of Dr. X was certainly marketed as a sequel to the first – but why do you say it’s not the same guy? There was a Doctor Xavier in the first film, and either he or the REAL villain could be the revived character. (By the way – the film features Huntz Hall of The Bowery Boys in a small part)

There were a lot of “sequels” that were so in name only, and we could do a whole thread on them, too (Prom Night 2, most of The Howling movies)

And Robby isn’t just the robot suit – they imply somehow that he’s the same character in The Invisible Boy as in FP, and use the same voice.

Upon further research, I found this:

“Both movies have a character named Dr. Xavier, or “Dr. X” and both have a wisecracking newspaper reporter. The plot of Doctor X (1932) features “synthetic flesh.” The Return of Doctor X (1939) has “synthetic blood.” The 1932 Dr. X was the head of the fictional Academy of Surgical Research. This movie’s Dr. X is a clammy, white-faced laboratory assistant with a white streak in his hair. The 1932 reporter, played by Lee Tracy, was thoroughly a New Yorker. This one, played by Wayne Morris, is more of a drawling, Midwestern type. The studio considered this project a follow-up to the successful Doctor X, and they clearly wanted to evoke that popular movie by making this one sound like a sequel, but there is little connection between them.”

Dr. X – Dr. Jerry Xavier
(The Return of) Dr. X – Dr. Maurice Xavier
X-Men – Dr. Charles Xavier

I would call The Return of Dr. X more of a cash-in than an actual sequel, much in the same spirit as the faux-sequels you mention.