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Posts Tagged ‘movie titles

“Symbolize and summarize”*…

 

Saul Bass was one of America’s premiere graphic designers through the second half of the Twentieth Century. He created some of the best-remembered, most iconic logos in North America:  e.g., the Bell Telephone logo (1969) and the successor AT&T globe (1983), Continental Airlines (1968), Dixie (1969), United Airlines (1974), and Warner Communications (1974).  

But for your correspondent’s money, his major contribution was his extraordinary series of movie titles and posters, created for the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick, and Martin Scorsese.  Prior to Bass, movie title sequences had largely been a series of “credit cards,” functioning in effect as title pages.  Bass developed the opening as a way to set the emotional stage for the film to follow.  As screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi said of Bass and his second wife and collaborator Elaine, “you write a book of 300 to 400 pages and then you boil it down to a script of maybe 100 to 150 pages. Eventually you have the pleasure of seeing that the Basses have knocked you right out of the ballpark. They have boiled it down to four minutes flat.”

In the broadest sense, all modern opening title sequences that introduce the mood or theme of a film can be seen as descendent of Bass’s innovative work. In particular, though, one can detect the influence of Bass in the title sequences for some recent movies and television series (especially those set in the 1960s) that have purposely emulated the graphic style of his animated sequences from that era: e.g.,  Catch Me If You Can (2002), X-Men: First Class (2011), and the opening to the AMC series Mad Men.

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See a more complete frame board of Bass’ North By Northwest opening here; browse more of his extraordinary canon here– all courtesy of our old friend Christian Annyas.

* Saul Bass

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As we mute our cell phones, we might recall that it was on this date in 1956 that Alfred Hitchcock’s muse, the Oscar-winning actress Grace Kelly, became Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco.

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Written by LW

April 19, 2014 at 1:01 am

By any other name…

 

Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music.
– Frank Capra

Can you figure out these movie titles?

These and other mathematical mysteries at Spiked Math‘s Movie Math Quiz. (For answers to the examples above, click on the clues… but do browse further.)

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As we wonder if this is what “transitive” means, we might send burnished birthday greetings to Maxwell Perkins; he was born on this date in 1884.  Probably the most famous literary editor of all time, Perkins discovered, assisted, promoted, and/or otherwise mentored many of the most important American writers of the first half of the Twentieth Century including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Ring Lardner, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Erskine Caldwell, Edmund Wilson, James Jones, Vance Bourjaily, and (especially) Thomas Wolfe.

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Written by LW

September 20, 2013 at 1:01 am

First Impressions…

 

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Via the always-rewarding Dangerous Minds, a simple– and simply wonderful– graduation film made by Jurjen Versteeg, who explains the idea behind his project:

Designed as a possible title sequence for a fictitious documentary, this film shows a history of the title sequence in a nutshell. The sequence includes all the names of title designers who had a revolutionary impact on the history and evolution of the title sequence. The names of the title designers all refer to specific characteristics of the revolutionary titles that they designed.

This film refers to elements such as the cut and shifted characters of Saul Bass’ Psycho title, the colored circles of Maurice Binder’s design for Dr. No and the contemporary designs of Kyle Cooper and Danny Yount.

This title sequence refers to the following designers and their titles: Georges Méliès – Un Voyage Dans La Lune, Saul Bass – Psycho, Maurice Binder – Dr. No, Stephen Frankfurt – To Kill A Mockingbird, Pablo Ferro – Dr. Strangelove, Richard Greenberg – Alien, Kyle Cooper – Seven, Danny Yount – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang / Sherlock Holmes.

 

As we remember to “tell ‘em what we’re going to tell ‘em,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1946 that the first Cannes Film Festival opened.  It had originally been scheduled for September, 1939 as an “answer” to the Venice Film Fest, which had become a propaganda vehicle for Mussolini and Hitler; but the outbreak of World War II occasioned a delay.

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Hold still…

From Christian Annyas, “The Movie Title Stills Collection“– screen shots of the head titles, end titles, and trailer titles from hundreds of feature films dating from the 1920s to today.

 

As we fiddle with our fonts, we might recall that it was on this date in 1961 that Danish barbers’ assistants, who had begun a labor action in Copenhagen in 1938, ended their 33-year-long strike– the longest on record.

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A rose by any other name…

Business Insider reports:

We’re now exporting Jersey Shore to Japan.

Because the average Japanese viewer has no clue about U.S. geography, MTV re-titled it Macaroni Rascals.

If that isn’t offensive enough, the translation Macaroni Rascals is actually the polite translation. The real translation is closer to Macaroni Assholes.

Jersey Shore is only the latest popular American show or movie that’s title is hilariously lost in translation.

For example, the film released in China as Six Naked Pigs

… is better known in Anglo-Saxon climes by it’s original title, The Full Monty:

More “Exported American TV Shows And Movies With Titles Hilariously Lost In Translation” here.

As we marvel that any cross-cultural communications occurs at all, we might recall that it was on this dat ein 1929 that Vladimir Zworykin, inventor, engineer, and pioneer of television technology, demonstrated the “kinescope,” the first practical television receiver.  Two days later Zworykin, who was at Westinghouse at the time, presented his work in a paper at a convention of the Institute of Radio Engineers, which brought him to the attention of David Sarnoff, who eventually hired him and put him in charge of television development for RCA at their newly established laboratories in Camden, New Jersey.  Zworykin went on to be a leader in the practical development of television; and helped create charge storage tubes, infrared image tubes and the electron microscope.

Zworykin demonstrating the kinecope in 1929 (source)

 

 

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