Thursday, March 27, 2008

Credits in the straight world

Catching up with the Self-Styled Siren and her always-enlightening takes on classic Hollywood, I finally read her post about credit titles. Since the post and most of the comments focus on American movies, here are a few European titles that I particularly love:

• Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Delicatessen (1991), which matches names and objects referring to the job at hand.

• Laurent Brett's retro-minimal titles for OSS 117: Le Caire Nid d'Espions (2006). The clip starts with the very end of the pre-credit sequence. The film, a spoof of the 1960s action series OSS 117, was a huge hit in France.

• Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can couldn't be any more American—except for its title sequence, designed by the Parisian team of Kuntzel + Deygas. Although you could of course point out that they're paying cheeky tribute to Saul Bass.

• Pedro Almodóvar: so much to choose from! Here are High Heels (1991) and Bad Education (2004). The latter channels the Hitchcock/Bass/Herrmann trinity to great effect.

• best TV credits ever? The Avengers. Amazingly, the quality remained high season after season; check out a sample here. Even the much-maligned New Avengers had decent credits, which says a lot. They also had lengthy end credits, which are pretty much gone from modern series.

• Okay, The Avengers win on style, but The Persuaders' credit sequence was narratively astute as it used split screens to give the background story of this early-70s series' main characters, played by none other than Tony Curtis and Roger Moore. Plus, music by John Barry. Strangely, this show seems pretty unknown in the U.S., whereas it was hugely popular in France.

2 comments:

Campaspe said...

thanks so much for the shout-out! These are all great. Mr. C is a big fan of The Persuaders, watched it as a kid in France. I confess I've never seen the series.

I agree that Almodovar does great credits, as you'd expect from a director with such an incredible eye for the theatrical. Should have thought of him when I was bemoaning the sad state of credit sequences!

Elisabeth Vincentelli said...

I've never met anybody in the US who knows The Persuaders! Granted I haven't seen that series since growing up in France (where it seemed to be on all the time), but I used to love it—so much so that I remembered the credits really clearly.