Art of the Title Sequence celebrates the world’s greatest film/TV title sequences, those oft-experimental opening moments of a movie or TV show that really set the mood of what’s to come. I’ve always been intrigued by this art form and it’s fun to watch examples from around the globe. The site also features interviews with more than a dozen masters of the media. Art of the Title was mentioned in a New York Times article today about the South by Southwest Film Awards new Title Design Competition. Winners will be announced at the festival next week. According to the NYT, “The modern approach to film titles crystallized, more or less, in 1955 with “The Man With the Golden Arm.” It opened with a kind of jazz ballet in which dancing white lines, over music by Elmer Bernstein, eventually tightened into the contorted arm of a drug addict.
From the NYT:
The sequence was designed by Saul Bass, who tossed aside a more mechanical approach that had largely prevailed in Hollywood to create story-telling openings for films like “Psycho,” “North by Northwest” and, later, “Goodfellas” and “The Age of Innocence.”
(Among the entries at South by Southwest, “Cigarette Girl,” an independent film about a world in which smoking restrictions have murderous consequences, is one that recalls the Bass oeuvre: guns, cigarettes and people flicker between the real and the abstract, over a cool-toned soundtrack.)
Before his death in 1996, Bass had been nominated for Oscars three times, winning once, for his short films. But his work on the titles fell through the cracks of a film industry awards system that has given far more recognition to directors
“New Honor for the Designs That Get Movies Moving” (Thanks, Jess Hemerly!)