The Aviator /Color saturation question

Was I seeing a bad print of the Aviator?

During the first two or three reels, out of fifty, the green tones were really off.

How off?

Well, when playing golf with Kate Hepburn the putting ‘green’ was turquiose.

Then the field he crash landed the test plane into was also a funky shade of green. Very blue in color.
Was your print like this or was the print I was watching off?

They meant to do that. Read more here.

More on two-tone Technicolor

Another Richardson article.

And one more.

And it wouldn’t be fifty–more like 8 or 9.

Unless it was an insufferably boring movie–then it would be more like fifty. :wink:

Running time is 170 min. At 20 per reel it would be 8 and half.

OH and this is not supposed to be the pit but Cafe Society.

I did notice the general color shift during the movie. But the early part, specifically the ‘green’ grass while playing golf was just a distraction.
That may be how grass looked on film at the time but it is not how grass looked at the time.

It’s interesting you say this because I’ve been surprised by the enormous number of film reviews that haven’t mentioned this at all. As a student of film history and professional archivist, I noticed the use (or more appropriately, emulation) of two-strip right away. But several other people I’ve talked to who saw the film (even in the same theater) never did, or just couldn’t recall much of a difference. And quite a number of write-ups on the film talk about Richardson’s lush Technicolor pallette without indicating that this doesn’t really kick in until almost an hour into the film!

I’m sorry it was a distraction, but in all fairness, Scorsese wasn’t trying to make the grass look “realistic”–he was paying homage to the period, not only by reconstructing sets and creating costumes authentic to the time, but also reconstructing the look and creating the feel of color film at that time as well. It’s an interesting and unusual idea that doesn’t have the payoff you’d hope for unless you really get what he’s going for (and are familiar with original two-strip TC films from the time), but it seems that, for a majority of the viewers out there, it’s something that seems to have escaped their attention altogether. Go figure.

I, too, noticed the strange color of the golf green. Not being familiar with the technical aspects of filmmaking, I never would have guessed the actual reason. I didn’t even think of it possibly being a bad print. I thought, however odd, that the grass must really look that way! My only justification was that many golf courses “paint” their greens during the winter months when the grass is brown. The color of the paint or dye is usually fairly good at matching a natural grass green, but occasionally I’ve seen greens that were kind of greenish-blue. But not nearly as blue as those in the film.

Thanks for the real story and links!

I noticed the two-color Technicolor palette almost immediately just watching clips from The Aviator on television. And knowing how much of a cineaste Martin Scorcese is, I knew it was no accident. Howard Hughes himself used two-color Technicolor for a party scene in Hell’s Angels (1930).

At first I thought “Oh, is that Bluegrass?” Then I remember bluegrass isn’t actually blue. A lot of other colors were ‘off,’ it wasn’t just that grass. The peas, the beets, a bunch of things. It looked interesting, but in the end I really disliked these tricks. They were very distracting and didn’t advance the story, so it became less of an homage and more of an excuse to show off.