The Evolution of Title Slides

By  · Published on March 24th, 2017

From informative to artistic.

This is one of the cooler videos I’ve come across in a while, as it traces the creative evolution of filmmaking from a perspective I’ve yet to see in any other video: the title slide.

The title slide is the same thing as the title card, and its name pretty much sums up what it does: tells you the film’s title. In Hollywood’s early days back in the 1910s, 20s, and 30s, title slides were chockful of information: movie title, director, studio, studio logo, copyright information, year of production, producer names, and all sorts of other stuff. As the medium progressed, you started seeing less and less information in title slides and more and more creativity. This creativity hits a tipping point around the 1960s when Saul Bass started working his particular brand of title magic for films like Hitchcock’s Psycho, Vertigo and North By Northwest, Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder, Kubrick’s Spartacus, and dozens of iconic others. After Bass, creativity was king when it came to title slides, entire sequences now being built around them, to the point many – I’m thinking of those attached to James Bond films – are considered artistic achievements all their own.

In the following video from Danielle Del Plato, title slides from 1915 to the present are collected in order to reveal the evolution of the aspect. Note how as time passes, the less the title card says, the more powerful and memorable its impact.

Related Topics:

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist