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A Celebration of Opening Title Sequences

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 25, 2021

From Patrick Willems, a history and celebration/defense of movie opening title sequences. They have fallen out of favor over the past decade or two, but Willems argues they serve a needed purpose. For instance, opening title sequences can set the tone or theme of the film before it even gets started — that’s what Saul Bass set out to do:

a quote from Sual Bass on title design

Bass called this “creating a climate for the story”. Here’s one of Willems’ favorite opening sequences by Bass, from 1966’s Grand Prix, which I’d somehow never seen before and is fantastic:

Me? I love opening title sequences. (Except when they are bad and too long.) But I also love when the movie starts right away. And when the movie starts right away and then you get a title card like 8 minutes into it. I’m a fan of anything when it’s done well. *shrugs*

P.S. You can check out hundreds of great examples of opening title sequences at Art of the Title.