Director Richard Rush filmed the pool sex sequence which featured full frontal male nudity with a stand in, as Bruce Willis' penis was deemed too small. Other love scenes featuring the actors buttocks are actually Willis'.
Director Richard Rush clashed with producer/financier Andrew G. Vajna over the final cut of the film. Rush wanted his longer, eccentric cut to be released, but Vajna wanted the shorter, and more conventional, 121 minute version released. Vajna eventually got his way.
There was a major battle between Richard Rush and Andrew Vanja about who had the better version of the film. So what happend was that Rush prepared his 139 Minute version and Vanja prepared his own 121 Minute version. They made a bet as to see who's version would fare the best and Vanja allowed Rush to set a place, a date and a theater where the two versions of the film would play. Rush chose San Francisco as the city where both versions would be played on the same date but at different times. After that day was over, Rush won the bet because many felt his version was the more coherent of the two without question.
Andrew Vanja, the head of Cinergi Productions started a trade war in the Hollywood tabloids stating that Richard Rush was the reason the film failed. Rush soon suffered a heart attack that required a triple bypass and he recovered, Rush had personally told him to his face that the film would fail if Disney released Vanja's version which was completely compromised and was deemed distasteful for its gratuitous nudity that was covering up for the films' storyline that was completely ruined.
Carmine Zozzora, who was Bruce Willis' best friend and associate producer on the film met Jane March, Willis' co-star before filming after she had been cast and immediately hit it off to the point they actually got married. After filming started, Zozzora started to interfere with the films more sensual scenes making demands of both Willis and Richard Rush to the point that Rush was starting to get upset.
The film was offered to Writer/Director Richard Rush by Andrew Vanja in an attempt to reconcile over their problems on Air America. He offered him this film which was written by Billy Ray. Vanja then told Rush that he already had Bruce Willis attached to the project because one the producers was one of the heads of CAA. Vanja also told Rush that he could tailor the script to his liking. However, that didn't happen as writer Matthew Chapman was also brought in by the studio for additional rewrites. Also, Rush was misled to the fact that he had final cut on the film and ultimately did not leading to the films two controversial versions.
Director trademark [Richard Rush]: carefully planned out shots to connect the end of a scene with the beginning of the next one. For example, after Scott Bakula's character dies, a helicopter flies by in the background. The next shot features Bruce Willis being pulled out of a cop car. A helicopter light shining down on him. The sound of a helicopter plays over both shots, connecting the two.
Writer/Director Richard Rush made a deal with Andrew Vanja to release his "version" of the film Internationally and on Home Video after the films' theatrical run was a failure complete with negative reviews which Rush himself predicted and told Vanja would happen after re-editing the film. Vanja would not give him foreign rights because it was already released the same day as the US release date, but did grant Rush all home video rights and it has been "his" version that has been available on DVD and VHS for a very long time. Kino Lorber has just recently released both versions of the film on Blu-Ray with the compromised 121 Minute theatrical cut being released for the first time ever.
After the film had failed at the box office, Writer/Director Richard Rush sent his "version" to three of the country's best film critics who had completely lambasted the film when it was released theatrically during the Summer 1994. After seeing Rush's unimpaired version, they give him critical raves for it.
Soon after the film was finished, Richard Rush was fired by Andrew Vanja which was a violation of the Director's Guild because according to their rules, it was too far into the process to do so. Vanja retaliated with his own butchered version of Rush's original cut.
After the film was released, Richard Rush submitted his version to the MPAA to secure a rating, which he hoped as an R rating as he had intended from the beginning of filming. He got the R rating that he wanted which enraged Andrew Vanja questioning the ratings board as to why Rush's version was not worse than his. They felt that the nudity in Rush's version was done more tastefully than Vanja's which was pushing the envelope towards an NC-17 due to the explicit intended nature of those scenes.
For the first time in this film, Director Richard Rush used stunt people. It was also vital for the finale of the film where Bruce Willis saves Jane March on the platform which Rush wanted all filmed in one take and not edited from several takes.
Describing a wildly improbable scene from Color of Night (1994), Roger Ebert wrote the following as part of his review: "So let's move on to the chase, where a bright red car with blacked-out windows tries to force Willis off the road. It fails, but comes back, and there is a scene where Willis' car is driving on a street next to a parking garage, and a high-angle shot shows the red car on the roof of the garage, stalking him. It is clear that from this angle the driver of the car cannot possibly see over the edge of the garage, and thus could not have any idea of where Willis' car is. But wait, there's more: A little later, the red car pushes another car off the top of the parking garage, so that the falling car barely misses Willis. How could the person in the red car know where a pedestrian six floors below would be by the time he pushes a car over the edge? Answer: This movie will do anything for a cheap action scene, and so we should not be surprised, a little later, when people who should be perfectly happy to remain at ground level go to a lot of trouble to climb a tower so that one can almost fall off, and the other can grab him, during and after heated dialogue in which the plot is explained". It's as if director Richard Rush had become aware of how ludicrous his film had got, so throwing in this parking scene was like Rush was past caring. Also Ebert described his final thoughts of the movie as follows: "By the end of "Color of Night" I was, frankly, stupefied. To call it absurd would be missing the point, since any shred of credibility was obviously the first thing thrown overboard. The movie has ambitions to belong to the genre of "Jagged Edge," "Fatal Attraction," "Basic Instinct," "Single White Female" and other twisto-thrillers, but why did it aim so low? It's so lurid in its melodrama and so goofy in its plotting that with just a bit more trouble it could have been a comedy".
This was one film where Writer/Director Richard Rush did not use his regular casting director. Wendy Kurtzman was given the job thanks working with Disney. She would give Rush a cast that he did approve of and was more than satisfied with.
Brad Dourif had also played a patient with mental health issues in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). That film's lead Jack Nicholson co-starred with Bruce Willis's then wife, Demi Moore in A Few Good Men (1992), directed by Rob Reiner. Willis also starred in other Reiner directed films, North (1994) and The Story of Us (1999).
In the trailer there is a conversation between Martinez (Ruben Blades) and Bill Capa (Bruce Willis), it seems like an attempt to give Willis's psychologist character more depth, but it's laughably unconvincing as follows: "Tell me about this Monday group". "There's five patients in the group ." "Like five cuckoos?" "No, four neurotics of varying degrees and one killer".
A humorous extract from Celebrating The Camp Insanity Of COLOR OF NIGHT, which compares Color of Night (1994) to Basic Instinct (1992) as follows: "Instead, it feels like director Richard Rush -- along with screenwriters Billy Ray and Matthew Chapman -- learned all the wrong lessons while watching Basic Instinct. Paul Verhoeven had a Sharon Stone upskirt shot? Well, we'll get superstar Bruce Willis to hang dong. Basic Instinct's central mystery involved the villain dressing as another character? Our red herring doesn't just dress as another character: she presents herself as another gender, and has a multiple personality disorder, to boot. Basic Instinct had graphic sex scenes? Dude, one of ours will take place across multiple locations and will be so lengthy that the characters involved will have to pause for a meal in the middle of it".
Although Color of Night (1994) started in New York City, New York, it was filmed on location in Los Angeles, California and other nearby parts of this enormous, freeway formed city. (See Filming Locations).
Color of Night (1994) milks the fact that it's an erotic thriller, as on two different covers it says: Sizzling Onto Video February 7th! On another it says: Exclusive Director's Cut 15 Extra Steamy Minutes!
In Killer Cars: Color of Night (1994) (available on YouTube), the narrator humorously talks about the car chase, "You know, back in high school a buddy of mine drove one of these transams. They're nice cars, but if Bruce can outrun him long enough, it'll run out of gas pretty quick".
An extract from Moira - The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review by Richard Scheib, insightfully takes a look at Bruce Willis's career in the early nineties as follows: "Color of Night came at a point when it seemed anything that Bruce Willis did - The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), Hudson Hawk (1991), The Last Boy Scout (1991), Billy Bathgate (1991), Striking Distance (1993) - drew scathing criticism from critics and public alike. (Although in truth, several of these films - at least The Last Boy Scout and Billy Bathgate are not at all bad. One even has a guilty liking for Hudson Hawk). Color of Night received an absolute pillorying from critics and audiences alike. There was even the rather funny (probably apocryphal) story of two fans who met Bruce Willis in the street and demanded their money back - and moreover received it too. Color of Night received that year's award for Worst Film at the Golden Raspberry Awards, along with a further eight nominations".
In Users Reviews an extract from a review titled, Director Rush Goes Down with the Ship, with a 2/10 rating, is as follows: "Rush began his career as a director with low budget exploitation films like 'To Soon to Love' in 1960, and ten films later achieved legitimate status with highly successful black comedy, 'The Stunt Man' in 1980, for which he received an Oscar nomination (along with his leading man, Peter O'Toole). He did direct again until this film, some fourteen years later, and during that hiatus, Rush apparently lost whatever expertise he had accrued by 1980, and his 'roots' are clearly showing in this one. The violence of the film is inherent in the story, but Rush makes it unnecessarily graphic; and while this could have been an incisive and insightful character study (and instrically more interesting), he takes the low road, fleshing it out with scenes of gratuitous sex and nudity, as well as superfluous action (he works in no less than two ridiculous car chases, one culminating in a vehicle being pushed from the top of a high rise parking garage). Furthermore, he ignores motivations and character development almost entirely; the two areas that required the most attention if this film was going to work at all".
A humorous extract from Qwipster's Movie Reviews by Vince Leo, with him taking into account that Richard Rush's last directing effort was The Stunt Man (1980), fourteen before directing Bruce Willis in Color of Night (1994), is as follows: "One could possibly attribute the poor direction showed here with Rush being rusty, but nine out of ten first-time directors have made better films than this, so there really should be no excuse. Even the most mundane scene is coated with ominously scary music for no apparent reason. If Willis gets out of the car...SCARY MUSIC! If Willis opens the door to his house...SCARY MUSIC! If Willis pulls a wedgie out of his rear-end...SCARY MUSIC! Curiously, the only time when the film isn't particularly scary is when something that should be scary is actually going on".
An extract from This film will cause blindness by Jerry Saravia, takes a humorously scathing look at some early nineties films starring Bruce Willis as follows: "Just before the firestorm of "Pulp Fiction" in the fall of 1994, Bruce Willis's career was considered kaput. He appeared in disposable, mediocre fare like "Striking Distance" and as an angel dressed in a bunny suit in "North." "Color of Night" is another dreadful Willis flick that almost put the nail in the coffin in his career".
Writer/Director Richard Rush and Cinergi head Andrew Vanja had a personal feud going on through the making of this film which stems from their riff from when Vanja was in charge of Carolco alongside Mario Kassar involving the film, Air America. Rush had made a deal with Vanja to Direct the film after adapting Christopher Robbins' novel and soon after, Vanja and Kassar took the film away from him and reworked the script as well as hired another Director to take over the film. Rush was completely ticked off.
From Tower Farm Reviews are humorous extracts from a Color of Night (1994) review as follows: "In no time, Dr. Capa meets Rose. It is also about this time that Dr. Capa picks up a weird habit. He starts narrating scenes for no reason. I mean his character narrates aloud (not overdubbed). For example, when Rose shows up unexpectedly at his... ahem... home, he quietly says, "There she is... a little angel... dancing on the head of a pin". He does this a few more times throughout the movie. Needless to say, it is pretty annoying".
A humorously scathing attack on the film comes from Retro Review: Color of Night (1994) #badmovies, under the subheading 'Color of Fright' with these extracts as follows: "Willis put in his worst performance of his career, whilst March is excruciatingly beyond woeful and her acting was just the pits. The graphic sex scenes were embarrassingly awful, and they weren't the least bit raunchy or erotic, whatsoever. In fact, they were as erotic as watching two dogs going at it with one another; I was bored out of my mind as my eyes were glued to the screen as I watched those two humping each other, whilst naked. In one weird sex scene, with Bill and Rose in a bathtub together, he's driving a remote-controlled toy tank over her breasts. I was like "er... okay...". The acting is beyond terrible and yet comical at the same time, and the dialogue is painfully bad. The characters are not engaging and lack characterisation throughout. Rose may be a titillating character for many guys, thanks to Jane March, but here she passes as normal, although frankly, I didn't much care for her". And under the subheading Final Verdict, the humorously scathing attack on the film continues with this extract, "Color of Night is not only colour-less but as a straight-up erotic thriller, it is thrill-less and did not have me on the edge of my seat. As the film progresses, it gets even worse and I wanted Rose to be the killer, as I disliked that character as much as well, every other character".
In a 2007 edition of Wikipedia, an extract of Color of Night (1994) explains about Bill Capa (Bruce Willis) not being able to see red and why the film is so named, "The title refers to the fact that he only sees shades of grey".
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Director Richard Rush was looking for a young girl in her late teens early 20's to play the dual characters of Rose Dexter and Richie Dexter. Jane March was cast after the director had seen "The Lover", in which March had her fair share of nudity and was playing somewhat of a similar character in that sense.
The color Red is prominent throughout the film and sports some clues as to both Willis' hatred for the color because of Michelle, Capa's patient who throws herself out of his office was wearing red lipstick before their session and during her session. Also, the killer's car is red. Rose wears red lipstick in several scenes. Sondra wears red nail polish as well as Rose during their tryst. Casey has red paint on his hands at one point seen during one of the therapy sessions early in the film. When Rose first meets Bill after running into his car and breaks his left tail light which is red and is also wearing red lipstick. These elements added to the mystery of the film.
When Capa discovers Casey's dead graffiti laden body hanging in his loft, he starts to start seeing colors again. This is a vital scene that sets up the finale where he fully regains his sight to see colors again.
The book that Bob Moore hides before he is killed by Dale as a Van Gogh art book was in fact his notes on the Monday group that also contained the picture of Bonnie/Rose that an inscription on the back of it. Later discovered by Capa before showing the picture to the group.
Rose suffers from multiple personality syndrome. In Richard Rush's version of the film, they are all full developed characterwise unlike the theatrical cut in which the Bonnie character suffers most editing wise. Bonnie was easily the more loose and sexually starved of the three personalities while also being alittle more outgoing and talks with a British accent which was actually Jane March's real voice. Richie is the shy and more aggressive physically because that personality is that a sexually repressed and molested 12 year old. Rose is her true self which is flirtatious but honest. Also, she seems not to know is really going on with herself except when she's with Bruce Willis' character whom she has fallen in love with which eventually puts a strain in Bonnie's relationships with the members of the group which causes the big reveal that they all had been sexually involved with her and then Bonnie breaks up with all of them because that personality has accepted Rose's love for Capa.
Dale Dexter not wanting the memory of his younger brother Richie die, forced Rose to become Richie which also caused a personality change when she was a normal self who only appears in the film when she's around Bruce Willis' character but also spawned a third personality, Bonnie, who is the one sleeping with the entire group including, Bob Moore, who was killed because he had discovered who she really was and that is why Dale killed him.
There are gargoyles littered throughout the film in various ways. These could signal the ugliness and darkness of all of the characters personalities or a trigger for Dale himself as the darkest most dominant one of all.
Some cast members who have surnames relating to the film: Ruben Blades (Hector Martinez) sounds like, surname wise, he could be the killer, but he's not. Shirley Knight (Edith Niedelmeyer) has the same name, surname wise, as the film's title, "Color of Night". Except for starting with the letter "K" of course and a silent 'K" at that. Roberta Storm (Receptionist), surname wise, anticipates an electrical storm that occurs later in the film.