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If It's Purple, Someone's Gonna Die: The Power of Color in Visual Storytelling

Book Description

If it's Purple, Someone's Gonna Die is a must-read book for all film students, film professionals, and others interested in filmmaking. This enlightening book guides filmmakers toward making the right color selections for their films, and helps movie buffs understand why they feel the way they do while watching movies that incorporate certain colors.

Guided by her twenty-five years of research on the effects of color on behavior, Bellantoni has grouped more than 60 films under the spheres of influence of six major colors, each of which triggers very specific emotional states. For example, the author explains that films with a dominant red influence have themes and characters that are powerful, lusty, defiant, anxious, angry, or romantic and discusses specific films as examples. She explores each film, describing how, why, and where a color influences emotions, both in the characters on screen and in the audience. Each color section begins with an illustrated Home Page that includes examples, anecdotes, and tips for using or avoiding that particular color.

Conversations with the author's colleagues-- including award-winning production designers Henry Bumstead (Unforgiven) and Wynn Thomas (Malcolm X) and renowned cinematographers Roger Deakins (The Shawshank Redemption) and Edward Lachman (Far From Heaven)--reveal how color is often used to communicate what is not said.

Bellantoni uses her research and experience to demonstrate how powerful color can be and to increase readers awareness of the colors around us and how they make us feel, act, and react.

*Learn how your choice of color can influence an audience's moods, attitudes, reactions, and interpretations of your movie's plot
*See your favorite films in a new light as the author points out important uses of color, both instinctive and intentional
*Learn how to make good color choices, in your film and in your world.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyrights
  5. Dedication
  6. Contents
  7. Brief Filmographies
  8. Foreword
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. Backstory
  11. 1 Red: The Caffeinated Color
    1. Chapter 1. Powerful, Lusty, and Defiant Reds
      1. Powerful Reds
        1. The Wizard of Oz
        2. Working Girl
        3. Dick Tracy
      2. Lusty Reds
        1. The Thomas Crown Affair (Original)
        2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
        3. Shakespeare in Love
        4. Sea of Love
      3. Defiant Reds
        1. Rebel Without a Cause
        2. Chocolat
        3. Malcolm X
    2. Chapter 2. Anxious, Angry, and Romantic Reds
      1. Anxious Reds
        1. The Sixth Sense
        2. Run Lola Run
      2. Angry Reds
        1. Philadelphia
        2. Schindler’s List
        3. American Beauty
        4. Romeo + Juliet
      3. Romantic Reds
        1. The Age of Innocence
        2. An American in Paris
        3. Witness
        4. Racing with the Moon
        5. The Cider House Rules
  12. 2 Yellow: The Contrary Color
    1. Chapter 3. Exuberant, Obsessive, and Daring Yellows
      1. Exuberant Yellows
        1. American Graffiti
        2. Billy Elliot
        3. The Wizard of Oz
      2. Obsessive Yellows
        1. Taxi Driver
        2. Romeo + Juliet
        3. The English Patient
      3. Daring Yellows
        1. The Thomas Crown Affair
        2. Dick Tracy
    2. Chapter 4. Innocent, Cautionary, and Idyllic Yellows
      1. Innocent Yellows
        1. Chinatown
        2. Rosemary’s Baby
      2. Cautionary Yellows
        1. The Age of Innocence
        2. The Caveman’s Valentine
      3. Idyllic Yellows
        1. Much Ado About Nothing
        2. The Talented Mr. Ripley
        3. Malcolm X
        4. Gladiator
  13. 3 Blue: The Detached Color
    1. Chapter 5. Powerless, Cerebral, and Warm Blues
      1. Powerless Blues
        1. Tootsie
        2. The Wizard of Oz
        3. Sense and Sensibility
        4. The Shawshank Redemption
        5. Rosemary’s Baby
      2. Cerebral Blues
        1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
        2. Malcolm X
        3. Blow-Up
      3. Warm Blues
        1. Working Girl
        2. Billy Elliot
        3. Chocolat
    2. Chapter 6. Melancholy, Cold, and Passive Blues
      1. Melancholy Blues
        1. The Shipping News
        2. About Schmidt
      2. Cold Blues
        1. The Sixth Sense
        2. Snow Falling on Cedars
        3. Romeo + Juliet
      3. Passive Blues
        1. American Beauty
        2. The Cider House Rules
  14. 4 Orange: The Sweet and Sour Color
    1. Chapter 7. Warm, Naïve, and Romantic Oranges
      1. Warm Oranges
        1. The Godfather
        2. My Family/Mi Familia
        3. The Big Easy
      2. Naïve Oranges
        1. Elizabeth
        2. Thelma & Louise
        3. American Graffiti
      3. Romantic Oranges
        1. Bull Durham
        2. Far from Heaven
    2. Chapter 8. Exotic, Toxic, and Natural Earth Oranges
      1. Exotic Oranges
        1. A Little Princess
        2. Monsoon Wedding
      2. Toxic Oranges
        1. Blade Runner
        2. Apocalypse Now Redux
        3. Gattaca
      3. Natural Earth Oranges
        1. Unforgiven
        2. Thelma & Louise
  15. 5 Green: The Split Personality Color
    1. Chapter 9. Healthy, Ambivalent, and Vital Greens
      1. Healthy Greens
        1. Witness
        2. Gorillas in the Mist
      2. Ambivalent Greens
        1. The Mosquito Coast
        2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
      3. Vital Greens
        1. Saving Private Ryan
        2. The Thin Red Line
    2. Chapter 10. Poisonous, Ominous, and Corrupt Greens
      1. Poisonous Greens
        1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
        2. The Wizard of Oz
      2. Ominous Greens
        1. The Caveman’s Valentine
        2. Gattaca
        3. A Little Princess
      3. Corrupt Greens
        1. The Virgin Suicides
        2. Cabaret
        3. Great Expectations
  16. 6 Purple: The Beyond-The-Body Color
    1. Chapter 11. Asexual, Illusory, and Fantastic Purples
      1. Asexual Purples
        1. Eyes Wide Shut
        2. Blow-Up
      2. Illusory Purples
        1. Rushmore
        2. Tootsie
        3. Dick Tracy
        4. Far from Heaven
      3. Fantastic Purples
        1. Cabaret
        2. Chicago
    2. Chapter 12. Mystical, Ominous, and Ethereal Purples
      1. Mystical Purples
        1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
        2. Eve’s Bayou
      2. Ominous Purples
        1. Gladiator
        2. The Sixth Sense
        3. Apocalypse Now Redux
        4. Far from Heaven
      3. Ethereal Purples
        1. Déjà Vu
        2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  17. Color and Culture
  18. Picture Credits
  19. Index