Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy may not have been a great or even a very good film, but it’s hard to knock its ripped-from-the-comics-panel four-color style (there’s a reason it won an Oscar for Best Art Direction). Beyond the cartoonish prosthetics, radio watches, and bright yellow trench coat, it’s the film’s matte paintings that most evoke the feel of Chester Gould’s original comic strip. Now, thanks to user colacube on reddit, there’s a whole album of these mattes over at imgur.
In a world of increasingly grim and “realistic” takes on comic book heroes (Guardians of the Galaxy aside), Dick Tracy’s striking colors and general silliness are a welcome breath of fresh air. It’s also hard not to look at these mattes and think how much better the movie version of Will Eisner’s The Spirit might have been in this style, instead of what viewers got.