Why is the film "Only girls in Jazz" black and whiteBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/why-is-the-film-only-girls-in-jazz-black-and-white
Most viewers do not ask this question at all — the film is old, therefore black and white. But this is a misconception. By the time this picture was shot in the USA, there was no shortage of color film and color cinema was no longer a curiosity. So the film "Not Today, Josephine" — that's what it was originally going to be called — was planned to be shot in color.
This was also required by the contract of Marilyn Monroe, the performer of the main female role. She had to act only in color pictures — this was the condition of the Fox studio, which "owned" the actress.
But director Billy Wilder disliked color cinema, preferring the good old black and white. And the plot itself, which they came up with with the screenwriter Easy Diamond, simply demanded that the film be stylized as pre-war gangster films.
But there was another problem — makeup. After the first color film tests, Josephine and Daphne's cosmetics turned out to be too "heavy" and gave out too noticeable and indestructible green tint on the film.
In order for actors Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis to get used to the images of women, wear dresses, walk properly in heels, and acquire a feminine gait and gestures, the film company from Berlin specially invited a famous female impersonator, transvestite Barbet (Babette).
Curtis's first classes went great — he looked impressive with a prim Josephine, although he was extremely constrained internally, which could not be said about his colleague Lemmon. Here it was the opposite: "Daphne" did not feel any awkwardness from either the dress or the makeup, "she" walked freely in this form around the studio and behaved as if she had worn dresses all her life.
All attempts to teach Lemmon to look like a real woman were unsuccessful. "Lemmon is simply impossible, he won't succeed, he refuses to do what I order him all the time," Babette fumed. To which Jack stated: "And I don't want a convincing transformation into a woman, we have to portray two men who are uncomfortable in a woman's dress." The film's director Billy Wilder supported Lemmon's line. Annoyed, Babette left the filmmakers three days later.
Having picked up makeup and make-up, put on wigs, changed into dresses, put on stilettos, the merry Lemmon offered Curtis to arrange an exam: "Tony, let's visit the women's toilet as a check. Only in the next shooting pavilion. Will they recognize us or not?" If they were still recognized in the room of their pavilion, then the situation has changed in the ladies' room of someone else's pavilion. The actors approached the mirrors and began to make up their lips and eyeliner. The dancers passing by, unaware of anything, even asked in which movie "girls" are filmed.
Satisfied with the "exam", Josephine and Daphne appeared to Billy Wilder. The director examined the beaming Curtis and Lemmon and was satisfied: "It will do, girls. Not ideal, but acceptable — you are, after all, men who only pretend to be women... don't change anything else. That's how we'll shoot..." And at that moment Wilder realized that the film would definitely not happen in color. And... I was glad.
Wilder managed to circumvent the contract — he explained to Monroe that men disguised as women in color do not look like a comic couple, but like "two painted green gay men." After seeing the samples, the actress "horrified" immediately agreed to the black-and-white version.
Well, we were left with only some color photos from the shooting so that we could see what the movie "Some Like it Hot" would look like in color.