Like artful movie posters, opening title sequences have been largely cast aside by an increasingly stats-obsessed studio system that cares little for the long and storied cinematic tradition. Sure, there are a few that still practice and revere the art —hello David Fincher and Edgar Wright— but if a credit sequence is made at all, it’s bumped to the end, as is the case with most blockbusters. A short documentary, “The Film Before The Film,” has been making the rounds online and it serves as both an introduction to and a welcome reminder of the power of opening credits.
At just under twelve minutes, the short by Nora Thös and Damian Pérez takes the viewer from Thomas Edison‘s utilitarian use of a text board in 1897 to show his company’s name and copyright note through to Saul Bass’ iconic work and finally ending with Gaspar Noe’s infamous title sequence for “Enter The Void.” It’s makes us wish for a feature-length documentary on title sequences, especially with an extra look at the work being done on the small screen where the tradition seems to be alive and thriving.
So while opening credit sequences might not be a prevalent as they were before, there’s still some good work being done, and with “Gone Girl” hitting theaters later this year, more sequences as such are yet to come. Watch the “The Film before The Film” below, as well as some of our favorite recent title sequences from both the big and small screen. Be sure to share some of your favorites with us.