A few months back, I discussed the evolution of the Universal Pictures ident in some detail. Many incarnations of the intro evoke positive movie memories for me. But they aren’t the only film company whose ident has a positive connotation. Not including Universal, here are twelve more great film company idents. The plan was for eleven but there was one that would get left out, which seems pointless:
The Criterion Collection
It’s simple, it’s clean, it evokes a running film projector, and it serves as the intro to some of the best films in history:
Metro Goldwyn Mayer (M.G.M.)
This one has been around forever and ever, dating back to 1917 (per the Wikipedia page). MGM currently is on their fifth lion, Leo, who has been used since the 1950’s.
Tri-Star (now TriStar)
As you can guess from the image header, TriStar was bound to make an appearance. If you grew up during the 80’s, then you have a huge amount of nostalgia for Pegasus leaping over the serif font version of “Tri-Star”. The ident has since been updated but I’ll always think of this particular version:
20th Century Fox
Much like MGM’s lion, the fanfare and spotlights on the oversized studio name is as iconic as they come in movie theaters. Here’s one of the older versions, not that it’s changed much:
Here’s another that hasn’t changed much. To my knowledge, it’s always been the robed woman holding the torch. However, they have added some motion and depth to the old gal through the years:
Ok, ok… I get it. Most people aren’t real familiar with this one. If you’ve ever seen an Ingmar Bergman film, or really any Swedish film, then you know this intro. Given the intense quality of Swedish films, you’re almost certainly in for a great movie when you see this:
Similar to Svensk, if you’re seeing this intro, you’re probably watching a foreign film that’s been distributed in the U.S.
It’s extraordinarily difficult to associate this with anything other than Bugs Bunny. Somehow, that doesn’t seem like a bad thing for WB. All the same, here’s their non-Looney Tunes version:
Paramount has stayed true to its brand, featuring the mountain peak and the stars seemingly forever. Like Columbia, the only difference is that it’s been polished and updated to add depth and motion:
Disney is one of the few major studios who HAS changed their ident quite a bit, going from a simple white-on-blue vector drawing to this more majestic piece. I have to confess, I preferred the simpler, less over-the-top version:
It should come as no surprise that John Williams, frequently the composer on Steven Spielberg’s films, would compose the music for Spielberg’s film company ident.
As my friend Marty has pointed out in the comments section, Hammer Studios’ famous gong is an omission. So I’ve added it. Unfortunately, I can’t find a video of it. But if you’ve ever seen a Hammer Horror, you recognize this image: