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Adelaide Advertiser (04/Sep/1937) - Some Thoughts on Color by Alfred Hitchcock



Some Thoughts on Color by Alfred Hitchcock

"I am whole-heartedly in favor of color films," said Alfred Hitchcock, British director, who is now making "The Girl Was Young" (Nova Pilbeam), in Pinewood Studios, England.

Truly reproduced, Hitchcock says, color is a step towards greater realism in photography, and as such is desirable: but films must be color films, not colored films, he emphasises.

"Color will give me the chance to portray what I want to portray most — lack of color," he said. "I know that it sounds paradoxical, but think it over. How can I show the drabness of a slum street compared with the glory of a lovely landscape when I must photograph them both in tones of grey?"

"Color, too, gives the director much more power to punch home a point — imagine the red drops of blood dripping on to a bunch of white daisies — just that would bring out the stark horror of a murder much more strongly than any gun or knife scene in monochrome.

(Hitchcock, it will be remembered, has produced some famous British screen "thrillers," including "The Thirty Nine Steps").

"Even the conventional scenes take on a greater potency. For instance a convict siting in his grey cell with a shaft of golden sunlight shearing its way through the gloom: imagine that for a moment. In color that shaft of sunlight would be really rich gold, not merely a lighter tone of grey.

"Take again a real London pea-soup fog in color. Such shots as those coming slowly up to a red traffic light through a volume of swirling yellow, have three times the dramatic quality of their black and white counterparts

"How well we could show rain. Not just torrents of studio rain pouring down from pipes, but puddles, gleaming pavements, with the reflection of a pale blue sky and the occasional glisten of a wet mackintosh.

"But although I'm all for color, it must help the script — never conquer it. After all, the story is still the most important thing."