Friday, August 22, 2014

Wellman Chart of Colors and Their Associated Emotions


In 1937, William Wellman directed his first Technicolor film, A Star Is Born. "I honestly believe that the black-and-white film is an obsolete - or will be in a few seasons - as the silent screen," Wellman told reporters. However, it took more than "a few seasons" that color cinema could develop itself into something technically and aesthetically competent and much longer to become the new production norm of Hollywood studios.

Shown this year at Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna were both A Star Is Born and Wellman's other color feature from 1937, Nothing Sacred. Even though both prints suffered from an unnatural color boosting, common among public domain versions of early color films, it proved to be a dazzling cinematic experience.

Wellman, justifying his use of color,wrote an article which was published on various newspapers, including the New York Times. He tried to explain why he valued color and how the color could come to the assistance of a director in emphasizing emotions. The newspaper piece also featured a chart which became known as the William Wellman Chart of Colors and Their Associated Emotions.

This is the chart Wellman drew (click to enlarge):


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