By Scott Higgins
Like Dorothy waking up over the rainbow within the Land of ounces, Hollywood chanced on a bright new global of colour within the Nineteen Thirties. The creation of three-color Technicolor expertise in 1932 gave filmmakers a robust software with which to steer viewers' cognizance, punctuate turning issues, and convey emotional subtext. even if many manufacturers and filmmakers before everything resisted using colour, Technicolor designers, led through the mythical Natalie Kalmus, built a cultured that complemented the classical Hollywood filmmaking variety whereas nonetheless supplying leading edge novelty. by means of the top of the Nineteen Thirties, colour in movie was once completely harnessed to narrative, and it grew to become elegantly expressive with no threatening the coherence of the film's imaginary world.
Harnessing the Technicolor Rainbow is the 1st scholarly heritage of Technicolor aesthetics and expertise, in addition to a thoroughgoing research of ways colour works in movie. Scott Higgins attracts on vast fundamental learn and shut research of recognized video clips, together with Becky Sharp, a celebrity Is Born, Adventures of Robin Hood, and long past with the Wind, to teach how the Technicolor movies of the Thirties cast enduring conventions for dealing with colour in well known cinema. He argues that filmmakers and architects quickly labored via a sequence of stylistic modes in response to the demonstration, restraint, and integration of color—and indicates how the colour conventions constructed within the Thirties have persevered to steer filmmaking to the current day. Higgins additionally formulates a brand new vocabulary and a mode of study for shooting the often-elusive services and results of colour that, in flip, open new avenues for the examine of movie shape and lay a beginning for brand spanking new paintings on colour in cinema.
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Extra resources for Harnessing the Technicolor Rainbow: Color Design in the 1930s
Yet it would be misleading to overemphasize La Cucaracha’s failure to make color unobtrusive. The prototype ﬁlm’s main function was to demonstrate color, and toward this end Jones’s design continually highlights and draws attention to it. Suﬀusing the frame in colored light not only helps make that color pronounced, but also emphasizes the reemergence of varied hues when characters return to neutral illumination. Similarly, though Belton rightly suggests that compositions threaten to ‘‘scatter attention’’ by combining primaries, strong hues can also reinforce one another, helping jar the spectator into awareness of Technicolor.
If there was a single voice behind the Technicolor look, it was likely Natalie Kalmus’s. When it was formed, in the 1920s, the department was meant to aid production personnel in designing for the limited range of the two-color process. With the advent of three-color, Technicolor promoted the department as a means of avoiding the purported excesses of the late 1920s and early 1930s. ’’ 49 The basic argument was that since three-color had so substantially increased the ﬁlmmaker’s palette, the regulation of color design now became more essential.
In his articles, which verge on idealistic rants, Jones continually stressed color’s implications for drama. ’’ Color on the screen is not only more natural than black-and-white, it is more stimulating, more exciting, more dramatic. Color, properly selected and composed, can immeasurably enhance the dramatic value of the screen story. Here is the dynamic force that lies behind this extraordinary new invention. 26 Jones was justifying the employment of color designers (‘‘the proper hands’’) to integrate color and drama correctly, to make color an essential component of ﬁlm production rather than an added ornament.
Harnessing the Technicolor Rainbow: Color Design in the 1930s by Scott Higgins