ColorTherapy in Film: St. Elmo's Fire

ColorTherapy in Film: St. Elmo's Fire

Maxwell Ryan
Aug 12, 2008

I first saw this film the summer after I graduated from high school and have always had a soft spot for it. Even at the tender age of 18, this movie made me aware of how production design informs plot and character. Now that Retro 80s is officially upon us, let's take a closer look at this movie for a few of its colors schemes.

This pink living room is so over-the-top it/s almost uninhabitable. Everything about this room screams, "Look at me, I need attention," as does Moore's character - an aspirational party girl trying too hard to compensate for her father's lack of affection.

That said I'm totally into it.

I'll probably never have a room as pink as this, but I love how everything comes together, the neon Billy Idol wall piece, the cement pylon table legs, the unexpected brown sofa laden with opulent pillows and that sickly Pepto-Bismol wall color. If this room or that wall color are overdone, it's with flare and insight into character. As an aside, now that I look at it--that living room must be 150 feet across!

Moore's bedroom is interesting too. I like the combination of wall color with drapes: a deep coral/brown red and light blue. The blue sheers are very soft and diaphanous in this shot, all of Moore's furniture has just been repossessed and the winds of change are blowing through.

This room is gut-colored compared to the living room, and reveals a somewhat less superficial side of her persona.

Lastly, and I know this isn't a color issue per se, but I've lusted after that Nike wall mural and all those glass blocks in Ally Sheedy's loft for years.

There's something about the photo that suggests the moment after a storm breaks where you know everything is going to be OK. But aside of that, it's a billboard, and attaches Sheedy and Judd Nelson to the crass, cravenly ambitious consumer class that defined "yuppie" in the 80s.

I see this set and suddenly I want to be young and upwardly mobile too.

Can we take this information literally and make a few color recommendations? Possible matches: Benjamin Moore Baby Girl 2004-50; Rhubarb 2007-30.

- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter

(ReEdited from 2007-06-26 - MGR)

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