I had always assumed that the reason why certain "big" films such as A Night to Remember, The longest Day and Sink the Bismark were made in black and white was because the film makers wished to use contemporary film, such as that of the Carpathia or the London & North Western Railway train which appears earlier in the film.
Bill MacQuitty (Producer for ANTR) made the point in his memoirs that he insisted on small-screen black & white so that archive footage could be used. He had to fight the case for this against studio execs who believed that, for such an expensive picture, "wide-screen Vista Vision in crystal-clear glowing colour" was a must.
Hah! Bill was quite right. I do believe that these terms are exactly those which have recently described both my laptop and my widescreen HD-ready LCD TV. Only taken another 50 years, and still not there yet.
Fox's 1953 Titanic was indeed supposed to have been filmed in color and in Cinemascope, according to some books and memos I have read over the years. I have seen a reference to the Cinemascope lens to be used on Titanic was being held up in New Zealand and was not available, so the production was started without the lens and was filmed in black and white. Harper Carter (Norman Sturgis) said in an interview for THS that Titanic was filmed in Academy format and black and white because at that time only the musicals and spectacles were filmed in color. Dramatic films were filmed in black and white. I have always wanted to make a computer generated version of Titanic's titles in color and Cinemascope to see how they might have looked. The Carpathia footage in ANTR is actual newsreel footage of the real ship coming into New York. Robert H. Gibbons
[Moderator's note: This thread was originally posted in a different topic, but has been moved to the one which is discussing the same subject. JDT]