April 12 & 13, 2001

American Cinematheque Presents...

FOR OPENERS: The Art of FIlm Titles

Co-presented by AIGA/LA, and designfilms.org with the support of Adobe, MetaDesign, eMotion Studios, and RES magazine

Special ticket price: TITLES THEN and TITLES NOW $10 general, $9 student/senior and $8 members. The panel is $8 general, $7 student/senior and $6 members. For further information about this touring program visit http://www.designfilms.org


Special Thanks: Ken Coupland; David Peters & Dav Rausch.


Coordinated for the Cinematheque by Margot Gerber.


Tickets available 30 days in advance.

The general public as well as members of the Cinematheque may purchase advance tickets to these programs only. Please fax ticket orders to 323.467.0163 with your name, phone #, credit card #, exp. date, name as it appears on the card, name of program



SCHEDULE (by series)

SCHEDULE (by date)









Title sequences are often more innovative than the film itself and can be as dramatically and emotionally satisfying. In the words of Martin Scorsese, titles have the unique function of "setting the tone, providing the mood and foreshadowing the action." But not all movie titles are created equal. Join us for a look at those that thrill, with an exhilarating fusion of sound, music, text and visuals -- that is limited – thanks to today’s digital magic – only by the designer’s imagination.

FOR OPENERS: The Art of Film Titles is a celebration of modern motion picture title design. Presented by designfilms.org, this two-evening multimedia event features screenings of some 50 outstanding sequences from the 1950s to the present day with accompanying commentary from curators, designer David Peters with writer Ken Coupland and designer Dav Rauch. FOR OPENERS provides an unparalleled view of this under-appreciated art form as it draws connections between the work of such noted title designers as Saul Bass, Kyle Cooper, Pablo Ferro, Maurice Binder, and Juan Gatti, and the titles that adorn this week’s blockbusters. In addition, their will be a panel discussion with both contemporary and pioneering designers.

The format of TITLES THEN and TITLES NOW is a live presentation which includes alternating commentary and clips of actual opening title sequences.

David Peters has researched thousands of films to create an extensive collection of title sequences that span the history of cinema. Early titles were no more than cards and often a polite request for "Ladies to please remove their hats." With a few earlier exceptions, Saul Bass is identified as the innovator who changed the scope of film titles with his 1955 sequence for Otto Preminger’s drug addiction movie THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM. His title sequence, featuring a graphic of a jagged arm broke the mold. It was the first to use a jazz score and was graphically gripping. It also said something to the audience about what was to come. He went on to foreshadow the voyeurism in Alfred Hitchcock’s VERTIGO in his credits for that movie and managed to reprise the entire story of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS with an 8 minute end title sequence. This series will also look at the high renaissance of film titles in the 1960’s through the computer age and trends like "grunge title design," the descendent of the distressed typography popular in print graphics in the 1990’s. A prime example is Kyle Cooper’s sequence for the film SEVEN, which reads like a serial killer’s fetish ritual of assembling a diary of the murders he is to commit during the course of the film.


Thursday, April 12 – 8:00 PM

TITLES THEN: Pioneering Work From 1950 up to 1980 (120 min.)

The curators will discuss and exhibit titles including DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944, unknown); THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955, Saul Bass); VERTIGO (1958, Saul Bass); PSYCHO (1960, Saul Bass); TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962, Stephen Frankfurt); DR. NO (1962, Maurice Binder); THE PINK PANTHER (1963, Friz Freleng); DR. STRANGELOVE... (1963, Pablo Ferro); GOLDFINGER (1964, John Brownjohn); ARABESQUE (1966, Maurice Binder); BARBARELLA (1967, Arcady); BULLITT (1968, Pablo Ferro); THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (1975, Pablo Ferro); and ALIEN (1979, Richard Greenberg).


Friday, April 13 - 7:00 PM

Designers Panel (90 min.)

Pioneering and contemporary motion-graphics designers come together to share their working methods, influences and samples of their design work. Panelists include: Kyle Cooper (SEVEN, ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU), Pablo Ferro (BULLITT, DR. STRANGELOVE), Wayne Fitzgerald (BONNIE & CLYDE), Deborah Ross (THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, THE ENGLISH PATIENT).


Friday, April 13 – 9:00 PM

TITLES NOW: Contemporary Work from 1980 to the Present Day (120 min.)

The curators will discuss and exhibit titles including: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP (1982, Richard Greenberg); REPO MAN (1984, Robert Dawson); WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (1988, Juan Gatti); DELICATESSEN (1991); TO DIE FOR (1995, Pablo Ferro); CLOCKERS (1995, Balsmeyer & Everett); ED WOOD (1995, Robert Dawson); CASINO (1995, Saul & Elaine Bass); THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (1996, Kyle Cooper); SEVEN (1996, Kyle Cooper); NIGHT FALLS ON MANHATTAN (1996, Jakob Tröllback); RATCHET (1996, Marlene McCarty); OFFICE KILLER (1997, Marlene McCarty); GOLDENEYE (1996, Daniel Kleinman); ENTRE LAS PIERNAS (BETWEEN THE LEGS) (1998, Juan Gatti); AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME (1999, Balsmeyer & Everett).