Magazine article Metro Magazine

By Design the Art of Credit Title Design

Magazine article Metro Magazine

By Design the Art of Credit Title Design

Article excerpt

As with a memorable film, the opening credit title sequence can make a vivid and lasting impact. Saul Bass' wonderfully expressive, appropriately vertiginous graphics accompanied by Bernard Herrmann's enigmatic score ensure the opening credits in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) are as compelling as the film itself. Who can forget the creepy roll call of medieval gynecological instruments introducing the disturbing Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg, 1988) or Kyle Cooper's equally unsettling montage of murky images foreshadowing the horror to follow in Se7en (David Fincher, 1995)?

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Unsurprisingly, the history of opening credit titles runs parallel to the history of cinema itself. Early silent films relied heavily on title cards to provide cast and crew details, crucial narrative information and even to dictate audience behaviour. The cumulative influence of developments in animation, mid-twentieth century design innovators including Bass, Norman McLaren and Pablo Ferro, and more recently the digital revolution, has seen the credit title sequence develop into a definitive art form in its own right.

In this Special Feature, the art of the credit title sequence is examined from historical and contemporary perspectives. In 'Introducing the Nation', Adrian Danks explores key Australian films in the decades between the 1930s and 1970s. Discussing the work of Ken G. Hall and Charles Chauvel in particular, Danks' expansive analysis identifies crucial formal and ideological imperatives in the credit sequences of their respective films. Danks argues that the credit sequences, as with the films themselves, frequently reflected the cultural and political aspirations of a forceful young democracy seeking to define its global position. …

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