Classic Scene #2 – “I Kinda Like the Dark Grey One”

“I Kinda Like the Dark Grey One”

from Ed Wood (Tim Burton, 1994)

The Scene: Edward D. Wood, Jr. (widely considered the worst film-maker of all time) is putting together his newest disaster ‘Bride of the Monster’ when he is quizzed on choice of dress for his lead actress. Uncertain, he turns to his cinematography who responds that he can’t discern the colours due to colour blindness, but “kinda likes the dark grey one”.

The Deconstruction: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp has become the most predictable and tired pairing in Hollywood, spending the past ten years churning out unimaginative remakes. The 1990s were a golden age for both artists and whilst many would look to Edward Scissorhands as their best work together but those with alternative tastes prefer the biopic Ed Wood.

In anything other than a spoof film, using an entire scene to set-up a one note joke shouldn’t be done. Burton manages it in this instance due the sheer brilliance of the moment. Sure, it’s yet another gag about the sheer incompetance of Wood and his crew as he learns that his cinematographer is colour blind, but the real value is in the metafilm technique at work.

Burton’s best film (yes, this one) is filmed entirely in black and white, meaning that the gag is really on the viewer. A moment of confusion sets in while they talk about which colour dress is best and one can’t help questioning the pointlessness of it. It’s only when the cinematographer drops his colour blindness line that the punchline is delivered to masteful effect.

Best Bit: Johnny Depp owns this role, with his unbridled enthusiasm for his terrible work always a delight even in small doses like this.