Finding a real-world setting for DICK TRACY would have been difficult, but producer/director/star Warren Beatty and production designer Richard Syl-bert ultimately decided to head in the opposite direction: extreme stylization was the key to realizing Tracy's world.
"You can"t take a man with a yellow raincoat being chased by a man witha flat top and a prune face and set them in Chicago,"explained Sylbert. "It"sa joke." Infact, Sylbert, Beatty, costume designer Milena Canoneroand cinematographer Vittorio Sto-raro travelled to Chicago early ‘on to scout locations. Sylbert said they found marvelous places to shoot the movie. "And it would have been stunning. But it wouldn"t have been DICK TRACY."
Instead Beatty and Sylbert decided to shoot the movie entirely on the backlot of Universal to create a colorfully stylized comic book look ona grand scale. In keeping with their pursuit of generic simplicity, they decided to restrict themselves—to the extent possible—to a limited palette of comic book colors; notably orange, blue, green, red, plum, fuchsia, cyan, and, of course, black and white.