It was just a few days ago that we highlighted a video on the most beautiful black-and-white images cinema has to offer, but today it’s time to open up the spectrum as we dive into an excellent video essay on the history and importance of color in cinematic storytelling. Created by Channel Criswell, this 16-minute overview begins with hand-tinting in films from Georges Méliès and more, then expanding to how it was utilized to convey themes in epics from D.W. Griffith and Erich von Stroheim, before quickly jumping to 1939’s groundbreaking usage in The Wizard of Oz.
The rest of the video is a mish-mash, albeit one highly focused exploration of examples across the history of cinema, as recent as Inside Out and the analogous color schemes of Wes Anderson. Breaking it down to two sections of associative and transitional colors, he highlights how Blue is the Warmest Color uses its titular shade to paint the arc of its lead character and how multiple colors are used to convey a character’s evolution in The Last Emperor. With a variety of other inclusions, it’s quite a fascinating breakdown that will certainly have us looking a little deeper when we next go to the cinema.
Even jumping a bit into TV and videogames, check it out below with a hat tip to Refocused Media.
Does the video essay change the way you view color in film?