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October 12, 2012


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Speaking of "Barry Lyndon", the removal of the Bass logo on the maligned Blu-ray bothers me to a far greater extent than does the AR issue. It's much like he says; over the years, I came to associate that logo with "Sarabande" and "Lyndon".

It's the little things.


Speaking of the Bass logo, I love it because it takes me back to the time I started watching movies. My parents had a pretty decent VHS collection, and I loved how the old WB clamshells which sported it all matched in design, varying color depending on genre. Lovely.

Regarding Argo, there's a detail I quite enjoyed and I think Affleck handles it pretty well. The storyboard artist played by the great Michael Parks is supposed to be non other than Jack "the friggin King" Kirby, who in real life provided artwork for the Argo project. We barely get to see him, and Affleck avoids making it obvious with a cute line of dialogue about it. It is only revealed at the final credits. [slight spoiler] Considering the couple of places said art ends up in the movie, I think it adds an extra layer of significance for the comic-book nerd.

Mr. Peel

Every time I listen to something like the opening of the score CD for ENTER THE DRAGON in my mind the Bass logo goes there just perfectly. It's a real shame that it's been removed from so many DVD releases. On the other hand, I love what Soderbergh wound up doing with the Warner logo for OCEAN'S THIRTEEN.


The last episode of the first season of Errol Morris's too little discussed tv series First Person was about the plot of Argo, if I remember correctly.

Jeff McMahon

Okay, I'm gonna be the dummy who asks, 'who' coming off the 'what'?

Robert Cashill

ROOM 237, the doc about SHINING obsessives, begins with an amusing recreation of the Bass logo.

David Ehrenstein

Forget the Logos. "Argo" is terrific political thriller like Momma used to make.


Jeff--Presumably, Christ coming down off the cross. Apparently Glenn had massive expectations the rest of us don't normally grant to Affleck, as capable a craftsmen (carpenter?) as he is...

That Fuzzy Bastard

Regarding the Soderbergh story, from what time I've spent in "corporate" I suspect it's more someone much *lower* on the food chain than anyone thinks making the decision. The way it works is some studio head says "Yeah, that sounds fun, run it by the lawyers," and one of the hordes of anonymous lawyers says "I dunno, but it sounds like it might be a problem for some reason or other," and word gets back that "the lawyers say no."

Tom Carson

Based on my experience with decision-making at Those Stupid Magazines We All Hate, I'd bet anything TFB is right. Even if you're Soderbergh, my hunch is you aren't getting a decision. You're getting total Chicken Little panic at the idea of making one, making "No" the safe default option.

D Cairns

As to why the period-inaccurate logos were used on The Sting and Cry Baby, no, I don't know. But maybe just because they looked cool. The Sting uses music from entirely the wrong decade, so they were already basing their choices on an inner aesthetic impulse rather than historical accuracy, to some degree. And maybe John Waters is more of a James Whale guy than a Sirk guy?

Mr. Peel

Yeah, I could believe that John Waters just wanted to use that particular logo as opposed to doing it for period reasons. Romero also used it for LAND OF THE DEAD. The 70s-80s Universal logo also turned up in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and LAND OF THE LOST. Carl Reiner used the period appropriate Universal logo for DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID and DOWN WITH LOVE used the old Fox Cinemascope logo.

As for Warners, Dante not only brought the Warner shield back for GREMLINS he also used the old Max Steiner fanfare which he did again on INNERSPACE. Allan Arkush on CADDYSHACK II and David Mamet on HEIST used it as well.


The other interesting modern use of an old logo was George Romero using the 1930s 'airplane flight' version of the Universal logo at the start of Land of the Dead!

I'm actually a little ambivalent about modern filmmakers 'piggy backing' their films on those of previous eras - I mostly think it is a nice touch but at the same time it seems a bit too presumptuous to try and elevate your latest work into a particular era that you like.

I totally agree about keeping the original logos - they're part of the original production circumstances of the film as much as the rest of the credits (and as you point out, many filmmakers accomodate the logo into the opening of their films). Different eras of Warner Bros have their own significance (for example the 'Kinney Company' logo from earlier in the 70s when Warners were producing some of the most controversial British films like The Devils and Performance).

I think it is very important for people looking back and tracing the history of films being able to assign praise and/or blame for what was made. This is something that only becomes more important in situations where one company ends up owning the rights to another companies films - it would seem totally wrong to just replace the original production companies logo with your own, and luckily I don't know of a circumstance so far where that has happened, instead at worst just an extra logo of the new owners being placed before the original one.

Shawn Stone

Warners has a long history of logo replacement. Back in film class circa 1982, the prof screened a 16mm print of Bonnie and Clyde for us that opened with the Saul Bass logo.

Replacing the Big W on the home video version of Blazing Saddles kills the effect Mr. Falla refers to.

Interestingly, they did not replace the super mod hip W-7 logos on Finian's Rainbow, Petulia or The Rain People.

Shawn Stone

colinr: MGM replaced the Columbia logo on the first DVD release of Casino Royale (1967). And they've pretty much removed all the various United Artists logos for their new releases. (Though not on their MOD releases.)

Warner removed the Columbia logo from Advise & Consent, and the Paramount logo from Willy Wonka.

Owain Wilson

Replacing original studio logos with current ones for DVD/blu-ray releases really winds me up. Particularly on the Bond movies. I'd love to see those vintage United Artists logos before the gun barrel sequence, but instead we have super shiny, HD versions of the MGM lion. Doesn't really work when the film that follows is 50 years older than the logo.

Changling had a nice use of the 30s Universal logo, I recall.

D Cairns

I recall back in the VHS days, the official release of The Third Man had had the London Films logo removed and an American studio's logo put in its place - the modern distributor putting their stamp on it. My friend Ben Halligan argued passionately that the London Films logo sets up Carol Reed's voice as narrator after the credits. Certainly removing what is part of the original film is unconscionable.

Tim Burton likes the music for his films to start as soon as possible, playing over the logos. A new strategy might be to keep the music back and establish as much separation as possible between logos and film, since they're likely to be replaced later.


I love the stylised but surprisingly fierce-looking MGM lion at the start of '2001'. It's on the 25th anniversary laserdisc but I can't recall if it survives on any subsequent media.

At least the Harris/Katz restoration of 'Vertigo', for all its aural controversies, kept the Paramount VistaVision logo (albeit preceded by the mid-90s Universal logo).


Re 2001: I have the 2-disc edition Warner Bros put out a few years back, and that MGM logo is there - since the opening low notes of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" play underneath, it'd be hard to get rid of. The only other movie I know of that has that MGM logo is "The Subject Was Roses".

I always liked both the Warner-7 Arts logo and the one after it (THX 1138, Dirty Harry).

Jonathan H.

Not a big fan of Affleck, but I commend him on his decision, if it truly came from him, to include the Bass logo. Interestingly, when MAGIC MIKE opened with the Bass logo it was modified to reflect the current corporate name (Time Warner, I believe), rather than "A Warner Communications Company."

I think the vintage logos that remain on DVDs of films such as PETULIA--the WB - 7 Arts logo--is because the logo is burned onto / part of the beginning of the actual film rather than being a completely separate entity.

One of the pleasures of seeing the Bond films at MoMa right now is seeing some of those vintage logos, although, curiously, MoMA's print of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977) was preceded by the "paperclip" UA logo (with Joe Harnell fanfare) that didn't come into use until late '81 or '82...I'm guessing this might have something to do with when that particular print was struck and donated to MoMA and the fact that Transamerica wanted distance placed between it and its former property. But, clearly, like WB, UA was replacing logos early on. FOR YOURS EYES ONLY opened with the non-animated UA - Transamerica logo that, I'm guessing, went out of use, almost immediately after, with the sale and merging of the company with MGM.

David Gordon Green chose to open UNDERTOW with the paperclip UA logo complete with Harnell music.

Off the top of my head...WB's ENTER THE DRAGON and DIRTY HARRY films appear with the Bass logo intact on Blu-ray. MGM's JEREMY DVD contains the original animated UA Transamerica logo. WB's PRINCE OF THE CITY DVD contains the original red and blue Orion logo. MGM's ROCKY III Blu-ray and DVD contains the paperclip UA logo. The WB DVD for BLACK BELT JONES contains the Bass logo as does their MOD DVD of THE SQUEEZE.

Columbia, Universal, and Paramount are the best about retaining the era-appropriate, original logos on their catalog titles on home video.

Some vintage studio logo video mashups, I put together several months ago:

Jonathan H.

A good resource for studio logo histories:


I've always been a stickler for logos. When I reissued Capra's BROADWAY BILL in the early 90s, which had wound up at Paramount, we pulled a B&W logo from ROMAN HOLIDAY and placed it AHEAD of the original Columbia Torch Lady. And when we started to do the American version of GODZILLA 2000, the editor said when the Toho logo came up, "We're losin' that, right?" "HELL, NO!" I hollered. And in fact, it not only got a great reaction from the fans but several critics, including Gleiberman, favorably commented on its retention.

Shawn Stone

Jonathan H: Being "burned in"--over the opening of the film, or appearing after the opening scene--saved a lot of logos. (Bullitt, Omega Man, THX 1138 for example.) The Petulia white/animated W7 logo isn't burned in. On the VHS version, on which WHV used an electronic version of the Max Steiner fanfare over their logo, eliminated the animation of the "W7" and used a freeze-frame version. The gold/animated W7 (Roadshow colors?)on Finian's Rainbow isn't burned in either.

Replaced W-7 openings on DVD include The Learning Tree and They Came to Rob Las Vegas.

Geek, out.

Jonathan H.

Thanks, Shawn Stone! Haven't watched my PETULIA DVD or VHS, for that matter, in some time. Not familiar at all with FINIAN'S RAINBOW, but I'm glad to hear restored the original logo to the DVD.

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