January 28th, 2007

The Mamoulian Palette

Posted in Quotes by DavidE

“Color cinematography tends to brighten and cheapen natural color. The problem was to counteract that. I realized that color in films is nearer to painting than to the stage. . . . So I treated the color the way a painter would. I devised what came to be known as the Mamoulian Palette. . . . I had a collection of spray guns beside me, so that I could spray color on a costume or set or even an actor. The art director had made me a beautiful chapel; and he was very upset when I sprayed everything with green and gray paint. There were flowers on the table and (naturally) the leaves were green. I think when they saw me painting them black they went and told Mr. Zanuck I’d gone out of my mind. . . .”

– Rouben Mamoulian, speaking about the 1941 film Blood and Sand, interviewed for Sight & Sound (Summer 1961)

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