There was a time when the opening titles of a film were just that – titles at the start of a film: What the film is called, maybe who is in it, maybe who made it, and some legal notice about copyright.
They did a job, but they weren’t much fun. It wasn’t long, though, before title sequences became little movies in their own right – the work of Saul Bass, for instance, being almost as talked about as the work of Alfred Hitchcock, with whom he frequently collaborated.
A title sequence could be exciting, funny or spooky. In some cases, there is more entertainment in those few minutes than in the following couple of hours.
Here’s a wonderful little film about the history of title sequences, from the Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule, which looks at some of the best and most significant. It’s called The Film Before the Film, and is a treat for your eyes and brain. Trust me.
Just click here.