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#010. Colorization

My favorite seasons happen to be fall and spring. While both of these seasons represent transition, and usually have comfortable outdoor temperatures, they also bear the distinction in my mind of having some of the most brilliant colors of any of the seasons. There’s a life in the bright greens, pinks, and purples of spring that makes you want to smile. Similarly, the deep reds, oranges and yellows of fall cause one to be reflective of the beauty inherent in nature. So now you may be asking yourself, “What do seasons have to do with movies?” To your query, I answer: color. Spring brings color to a bleak, black and white world of winter, while fall provides a burst of color after a monotony of summer. This weeks’ movies show just how much color can change the feel of a film.

Pleasantville
Year: 1998
Rating: PG-13
Length:124 minutes / 2.07 hours

As discussed earlier, life begets color. How do you know that the world has come back to life after winter? By the green buds, pink flowers and purple lavender of spring, of course! Pleasantville is a prime example of life bringing color into your existence. This does lead one to question what constitutes living life to its fullest. Is it advancing your knowledge? Is it art? Is it love? Someone could probably come to any or all of these conclusions at the end of this film. In mere comparison, those who refuse to change, who refuse to learn, remain gray, dull, and dead inside. So, ask yourself, “Do I want my life to be colorful?”

For those of you who have seen Pleasantville, you may think I’m stretching the core point of the film; but I think that if you watch it again, you might start to agree with me. After all, when David (Tobey Maguire) and Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) enter into the 50’s town of Pleasantville, they immediately saw that the simple folk of a bygone age had much to learn to catch up to the 90’s. As they start to influence the residents of this naive town, the color begins to spread. Like a virus, the color rubs off on everyone who is willing to learn, who is willing to think differently. It’s no wonder that soon most of the town has turned to color, but David and Jennifer still remain grey with the staunch, patriarchal opposition. They had come into this world with something to teach others, but it would take some traditional values to teach these 90’s kids something they hadn’t known before. By the end, the world had changed. For the better? Perhaps. At the very least, it was now alive.

The Wizard of Oz
Year: 1939
Rating: G
Length: 101 minutes / 1.68 hours

On the flip side of the seasons of color, we have fall. My personal favorite season is the fall, not only for the vibrant colors, but the chance to reflect on a summer gone by. Of course, fall can have another meaning, and in The Wizard of Oz, it can refer to houses falling from the sky, or the fall of an evil empire. While this film is not the first film that was in color, it is certainly the first to take full advantage of the realm of its possibilities. Case in point: Dorothy’s slippers were originally sliver in Frank L. Baum’s classic children’s book, not ruby red. The Wizard of Oz also gave a side-by-side comparison of black and white versus its color counterpart, thereby emphasizing the brilliance of the latter. After all, who wouldn’t want to sing longingly for a world somewhere over the rainbow when you’re trapped in the dull grey of Kansas.

While the plot of The Wizard of Oz somewhat closely matches the author’s original storyline, few would complain about this film’s adaptation. We start the movie off with a country girl by the name of Dorothy (Judy Garland) who is somewhat fed up with living in the grey world of Kansas. All that changes when a tornado comes and whisks her and her Scottish Terrier to the magical world of Oz. Upon landing in this colorful world, Dorothy finds herself in a bit of trouble with the local magic folk. Even though she found the “somewhere over the rainbow”, she realizes that she misses her home in Kansas and departs on a journey to ask the Wizard of Oz to help her return home. Along the way, she befriends many others who are missing something and eventually has to face off against the wicked witch of the west, who has been plaguing her during the entire journey toward the Emerald City of Oz. And while The Wizard of Oz didn’t win Best Picture that year (it was only nominated, and Gone with the Wind won), it did win two Oscars for Best Score and Best Original Song, both of which help make this a classic and memorable movie.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 different color schemes

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2 responses to “#010. Colorization

  1. Pingback: #023. Purposely Black and White « Cinema Connections

  2. Pingback: End of Act One | Cinema Connections

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