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

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5

Powerless, Cerebral, and Warm Blues

Powerless Blues

Tootsie

1982. Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Dabney

Coleman, Charles Durning. Directed by Sydney Pollack.

Cinematography: Owen Roizman; Production Design:

Peter S. Larkin

The Reluctant Feminist

We all know the story, but look at it this way. Tootsie uses powerless blue in a way rarely seen on film. The color becomes an ironic undercurrent. In this case, it’s the guy who is powerless. Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman), an unemployed actor, can’t get a job. Through incredible ingenuity, he transforms into Dorothy Michaels, snags a plum role on a soap, and becomes a huge star. Dorothy’s on the cover of a national magazine in a red sequined dress, but Michael, who wears faded blue sweatshirts, ...

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