Alfred Hitchcock , USA, 1964
In this film the central female character has a phobia of the colour red. As soon as Marnie sees something red, such as a bouquet of flowers, as in another scene, she suffers an instantaneous panic attack. In this scene Hitchcock has taken care to eliminate all primary colours so that the spot of red ink suddenly appears and provokes Tippi Hedren’s reaction. He took care to dress his actress in a white shirt, so that, in close up, the red spot is isolated against a white background and all we can see are the colours red and white. Hitchcock made an unusual choice of shot following on from the close up of the red on white.
This shot of Tippi Hedren is imposed in quite an artificial way where the colour red is imposed over the shot by a special process in post production. Allowing the character’s subjective moment of crises to contaminate the image we see on screen is totally arbitrary. The fact that she ‘sees red’ must not be applied to her own image. The panic provoked by the intrusion of the blanket red coverage of the image is underlined by a music cue which allows us to experience Marnie’s instantaneous panicked state.