CineSavant Column

Saturday July 23, 2022



We cultural ingrates at CineSavant like to gripe about modern logos for film companies — for the last 30 years or so we’ve been bombarded with ‘special animation’ items that are either forgettable, or annoying. They also test our patience. If a show has three major producing entities, we have to sit through 30 seconds of self-congratulatory individual graphic treatments — and then see the same credits repeated in text, one after another, in the film’s main titles proper.

We’re told that logos allowed companies to assert their identity but also gave projectionists a chance to focus and adust audio — if the MGM lion doesn’t roar, check the amplifier switch, Mitch. We’ve really felt burned when movie changed hands, with various Paramount Hitchcocks going to Universal, switching logos, and enduring graphic mutilation. In at least one instance the ‘VistaVision’ swoop-up fanfare was heard stupidly behind a Uni globe graphic.

But it was also gratifying when RKO pictures on TV stopped having crude “C&C TV” distributor cards wiping out original logos, messing up title scenes and entire last shots, where the RKO logo belonged. It’ll be a happy day when The Big Sky is restored, and once more given its gentle graphic opening and closing.

And it’s great to see 1950s United Artists logos returned to some pictures. I once thought that UA movies just faded up out of nothing, with no logos at all. Now shows like Quatermass 2 once again open with that handsome logo.

Speaking of which, I really appreciate studio logos that have little or no animation, too.

This New Orion Logo is a twist on the original from the 1980s. A colleague thinks it has something of a ’70s disco look. I watched the old one a million times cutting ads for Orion, and never had an opinion about it one way or the other. The only thing that seems odd here is the black bar that animates left to right. It reminds me somehow of a black armband. Who died?



That Australian company Viavision just announced their [Imprint] Blu-ray Lineup for October, and it has several very desirable items.

We’re expecting to review the company’s On the Beach special edition soon, but [Imprint] October will continue the atom apocalypse theme with Lynne Littman’s Testament (1984), still the most personally affecting title in that particular subgenre.
Sean Connery and Richard Harris shine in Martin Ritt’s The Molly Maguires (1970), which is also famous for the cinematography of James Wong Howe. It’s the story of a 19th century terrorist organization in the coal mines.
Louis Malle and Polly Platt’s Pretty Baby was controversial in 1978 and probably still is; the story of a young girl in a New Orleans brothel stars the underage Brooke Shields. Susan Sarandon co-stars, and one of the upstairs women is none other than Barbara Steele.
Buzz Kulik’s Warning Shot (1967) is a favorite crime tale, a hardboiled narrative in which cop David Janssen is accused of shooting an unarmed doctor, and must dig through a bigger conspiracy to clear his name. The West L.A. locations look exactly like the town I remember when I first came here to UCLA.

Also on the [Imprint] docket for October is the Jack Lemmon weep-o-thon Save the Tiger (1973), Hal Wallis’s two ‘quality’ play adaptations Come Back, Little Sheba (1952) and The Rose Tattoo (1955), and the sports comedy North Dallas Forty (1979).

I hope they will have time to correct the grammatical typo on the handsome cover art for Warning Shot . . . !

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson