Nightmare Alley has a black and white version, according to Guillermo del Toro


For his next film, the Mexican filmmaker chose to explore the grounds of the film noir. There is the promise of mystery, death, gloomy environments, and even a femme fatale, here played by Cate Blanchett. On the other hand, the vivid colors of Nightmare alley they clearly contradict the formal principles of that genre that dominated in the mid-twentieth century. But don’t worry then Guillermo del Toro claims there is a black and white version of his novel psychological thriller.

In a recent interview with Eric Kohn of Indiewire, the Oscar winner clarified that for the photograph of The alley of lost souls (thus titled in Latin America) he and his team drew upon stylistic foundations of the film noir. Although the film that we will see in theaters is colorful, Guillermo del Toro conceived it as if it were to be shot in grayscale. And in fact, he has in his possession credible proof of it.

«There is a version of the film [en blanco y negro] that I hope can be seen »said the director.

And I add:

«[El callejón de las almas perdidas] It is not a movie where you turn off the color. The film is almost like a black and white silkscreen that then has another layer of color. If you saw the movie in black and white, it’s not that I just turned off the color. It looks exactly like a 1940s movie in an amazing way«.

Del Toro also recalled a lesson left to him by the acclaimed cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa, who was one of the greatest exponents of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. The tapatío told Indiewire that decades ago he worked as a production assistant for a film where the director of photography was Figueroa.

«He had a great affinity with Gregg Toland [cinefotógrafo de El ciudadano Kane]”Said the director. «They were good friends … [Figueroa] He told me that when you work directly in black and white, you use the greens, reds and golds to give the midtones and make all the gray color. We decided to take that palette [en El callejón de las almas perdidas]».

As a fun fact, probably The heart of the night, from 1984, is the film in which del Toro and Figueroa coincided. It is a criminal drama by Jaime Humberto Hermosillo, about a man who, willing to win over a deaf young woman, ends up in conflict with a dangerous secret organization. They star Pedro Armendáriz Jr. and María Rojo.

The alley of lost souls, with Bradley Cooper, expected to hit Mexican theaters on January 27, 2022.

The entry Nightmare Alley has a black and white version, according to Guillermo del Toro it was first published in Cine PREMIERE.


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