Wednesday, July 8, 2015

An Appeal For Dick Tracy

June 15 marked the 25th anniversary of the release of director Warren Beatty’s star-studded, big screen salute to Dick Tracy, which took home three Academy Awards. Kate Erbland, however, finds the film’s legacy lacking and reflects on what makes it so noteworthy:
“Beatty’s intention to make Dick Tracy, the movie, look like an homage to Dick Tracy, the comic strip, resulted in a feature that looked pulled straight from the paper—vivid flatness and limited color palette, and all. The film only uses seven colors, mostly red, yellow, green, and blue, all the better to approximate the look and feel of a comic strip. The film's wider shots make the background look newspaper flat and inkily colorized, a look achieved by combining matte paintings with live action. Sharply cut costumes only add to the effect (most of them single colors: Tess in all reds, while Dick is yellows and blacks), and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro’s often static camera keeps every film frame feeling like a comic strip panel, boxed in, heavy on silhouettes, with obvious focal points. You know where to look in Dick Tracy, and when you do, you see a comic strip.”
(Image: Beatty calling for quiet on the set via his 2-Way Wrist Radio, Touchstone Pictures)

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