Alfred Hitchcock: Movie Title Stills

This coming week marks the very first TCM classic film festival in Hollywood. I’m a big fan of the station and usually even enjoy the bumps between shows, but after checking out their festival website I was disappointed to see how corporate the design was. I feel like they could have had some more fun with a classic film festival. There’s so much history to draw inspiration from. Which is why I immediately thought of Christian Annya’s Movie Title Stills Collection. He has archived hundreds upon hundreds of movie title screens from films dating back to 1903 up through the present, and he’s continually adding to the collection. I find it so easy to get lost on the site for hours browsing type treatments as they change from decade to decade.

Originally I was planning on just posting a bunch of title screens that I found interesting but realized quite quickly that it would be an overwhelming amount of images. Instead, I’ll be doing a short series starting with the work of the great Alfred Hitchcock, who passed 20 years ago this month. I’ve always loved how his thrillers made you think more than they tried to blatantly scare you, which can often be even more frightening. While looking through these images I was struck by how abruptly they changed with Vertigo. Until then he mostly utilized hand lettered serifs almost to trick you into watching an innocent piece of entertainment. Then with Vertigo it seems he realized how title frames can psychologically set you up for the ride he’s about to take you on. I’d be interested to find out just how much involvement he had in the title sequence design or if he was willing to delegate something so important.

Stay tuned for the Kubrick edition…

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Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2010