Guillermo del Toro is back with his first feature since The Shape of Water became an unlikely awards season sensation, landing the filmmaker a pair of Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. Not that it wasn’t a deserving winner, but it’s funny to think that so much praise was lavished on a project del Toro himself calls “the fish-f*cking movie”.
Much like his last effort, Nightmare Alley is currently basking in the warm glow of critical adulation, and has even been earmarked as a potential dark horse to land a trophy or two at next year’s string of back-slapping Hollywood galas. The main problem for the psychological noir is putting a dent in the box office, when it comes to theaters on December 17 and faces the daunting task of going head-to-head with Spider-Man: No Way Home.
On the plus side, it sounds as though the eventual home video release could come packaged with a black-and-white cut of the film, after del Toro revealed to Indiewire that the monochromatic version exists.
“There is a version of the movie [in black and white] which I hope can be seen. It’s not a movie where you turn the color off. The movie is almost like a serigraph in black and white that then has another layer of color. If you saw the movie in black and white, it’s not like you just turned the color off. It looks exactly like a movie from the 1940s in a way that is astounding.”
Based on the novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley is a dark look at the seedy underbelly of the American Dream inspired by classic noir, so a black-and-white alternate cut would be perfectly in keeping with the stylistic and tonal aesthetic.