1 Hitchcock: Color Design and Characterization–Red, Yellow, Orange

Research in progress: Updated June 4, 2021

Hitchcock’s color design is always driven by the demands of narrative and characterization.

Richard Allen has observed that Hitchcock’s color designs balance the expressive demands of color with the constraints of realism.

In his movies, bold colors and the contrast of color patterns express symbolically the films’ themes and characters motivations and conduct.

The color red signals an acute crisis.

The color red features prominently in several movies, such as The Man Who Knew Too Much and Marnie.

In The Man Who Knew Too Much, red chairs hold the cymbals, red drapes hang over the stage and in the boxes  of the assassin and prime minister.

In one shot, Jo is on the right, and the assassin is on the left of a red drape.

The kidnapped boy is held  upstairs in a room dominated by the color red.

The colors of yellow and orange are coded as warnings.

In Frenzy, Bob’s outfit is orange, warning of imminent danger

The color yellow is a milder warning, as manifest in Topaz.