The title sequence of a film is the intro which leads the viewer in while listing those involved in its production. Good ones evoke the mood of the film as well. Some are just as interesting as the films they introduce! A few titles that I absolutely adore are listed below.
Pillow Talk (1959) Wayne Fitzgerald
This has such a mid-century sophistication, it’s no wonder modern films have imitated it’s style (see for example the 2003 film Down With Love). The sequence was designed by Wayne Fitzgerald, a prolific title designer whose works beside Pillow Talk include The Graduate, Cool Hand Luke, Nine to Five, Scent of a Woman and Kingpin.
Funny Face (1957) Richard Avedon
If you are familiar with the film you might see why the title sequence was designed by Richard Avedon. This film is about high fashion and is loosely based on him. He was mainly a fashion and portrait photographer and he used this to advantage in the sequence for Funny Face. He photographed numerous high profile individuals during his career and some of his most famous works are the iconic psychedelic portraits of all four Beatles.
Bunny Lake is Missing (1965) Saul Bass
Some of the most memorable sequences of the early to mid 1960s were done by Saul Bass. The mood of this 1965 British psychological mystery is perfectly captured right at the start through this sequence. He also was incredibly prolific, adding his touch to numerous films throughout the 60s and subsequent decades. There are so many to list, but a few of his titles besides Bunny Lake include Psycho, Vertigo, Big, Goodfellas and the Robert DiNiro version of Cape Fear.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) Blake Edwards
One of the most iconic films EVER, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, features the most iconic title sequence ever. If you have ever stood staring into a Tiffany’s window feeling like Audrey, this would be why. It was designed by the director of the film, Blake Edwards, who is also known for directing the Pink Panther films. No other description is necessary💕
A Hard Day’s Night (1964) Robert Freeman
Gosh, I can’t even say how much I adore this title sequence. As someone who saw this film in the theater as a seven year old when it first came out, I can say that it totally captured the wonderful mayhem that was Beatlemania. It was designed by Robert Freeman, an English fine and graphic artist who worked closely with the Beatles, photographed them extensively and designed their iconic first American album cover as well.
Two Seventies Sobfests that Make Me Cry
Usually I’m not one to cry during a movie. It really takes a good bit of movie magic to bring on the waterworks. There are those films that almost do it but not quite, something that makes my tear ducts say “nah, I don’t think so.”
However, there are those that, no matter how many times I view them, trigger genuine sobs and running mascara. Only two movies come to mind at this time and they are as follows:
Love Story (1970)
Seriously, if you can sit through this one without shedding or holding back tears, you are not human. It was a blockbuster. Love Story isn’t the first film to deal with love and death, but darned if I haven’t needed a Kleenex at the end every single time I’ve watched. This is one of those films where the musical score is absolutely integral to the film. It won the Oscar for Best Original Score, which was well deserved considering that the soundtrack pulls you in and keeps you there. And what can you say about the pairing of Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal except perfect casting? O’Neal is SO great in this, it seems he’s not even acting. Ali’s acting is a bit wooden but who the heck cares? It was filmed on campus at Harvard University and other locations in Massachusetts and New York. It features a young Tommy Lee Jones in his film debut. Both Andy Williams and Tony Bennett recorded versions of the love theme but the best version remains the original instrumental “Theme from Love Story.”
Scenes that trigger the tears: when the loud and humming cacophony of the busy New York streets overtakes the scene as Oliver leaves the hospital; and all scenes that follow.
Brian’s Song (1971)
Next is Brian’s Song. It also deals with love and death, and friendship as well. Do guys cry watching this? I’m thinking yes, they do. Don’t bother with remakes if there are any. This original heart-wrenching interpretation based on the true story of 1960s Chicago Bears teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers was initially a TV movie of the week. James Caan and Billy Dee Williams are perfectly cast as Piccolo and Sayers and both bring me to tears each and every time. It won the Emmy for Best Drama and Jack Warden also won a Supporting Actor Emmy for his performance as Coach Halas. It also features the lovely Shelley Fabares as Brian’s wife Joy. Every tearjerker needs theme music and the Grammy-winning “The Hands of Time” gets the job done. Cue the tears and bring on the Kleenex!
Scenes that trigger the tears: Gale Sayers’ speech (AMAZING performance by Billy Dee) and Brian’s oh-so-sad 😞 deathbed scene.
Memory is a funny thing. Some things we remember vividly, each and every detail embedded deep into our minds. Other things vanish quickly or over the course of our lifetimes, our subconscious deeming them not consequential enough to take up valuable head space.
There are also those memories that, with just enough outside prodding, flood back to our consciousness, fresh as the days they hark back to.
This is about Jack, a boy I knew quite well in childhood. We were friends as kids, but children grow and change, move on and mature, go separate ways as we all become adults and before you know it those childhood friends and the accompanying memories are a very distant but pleasant whiff of thought that is barely there.
Then out of the blue, something happens…
It was his gait, his way of walking. I didn’t even realize that I was conscious of it, back then or even now – until the moment the man came into view, walking casually down the sidewalk, strolling directly across my line of vision. It was a purposeful stride yet unhurried, as though not to miss anything along his way. As I was waiting in my car to pull out onto this main road a realization came to me, like a tsunami of memory flooding over.
It was Jack. I knew it instantaneously … by his walk.
Suddenly an explosive rush of other long-forgotten thoughts flew into consciousness: that distinct stride; his friendly, easygoing manner and quick smile; the way his hair fell across his eyes Beatles-style; the fact that he played baseball and was always on the way to practice; the red Stingray bicycle he rode everywhere, every day; that he would head home on that same bicycle once the street lights came on; the long and splendid summer days of our youth. All these memories bombarding me in a split second or less as I was attempting to merge into traffic and go about my day, decades later.
I pulled out onto the road turning left on the way to my errands, while the man responsible for those memories continued his purposeful stride down the road, heading right.
I was smiling.
“Anne, I’m not nutty, I am just hooked on dolls!”Neely O’Hara, Valley of the Dolls
Years ago when I was taking a creative writing class, one of the assignments was to write a brief, noir-type one-pager. I was a bit stumped as to what to write about, then got an idea to write about a doll my mom had purchased for herself. There was nothing especially odd about it, it was a very cute doll, but I needed subject matter and felt I could work with that. I wrote the story, handed it in, and after the course was finished I put it into a manila envelope with some other papers and forgot about it. It follows ~
Not long after I wrote it, I noticed my mom had then removed the doll from her bedroom.. I never saw it again! I always wondered if she had somehow read my story and thought it was true, that I had -actually- been afraid of her doll! I never asked, and mom is gone now.. so I’ll never know. 😮
I love many different types of music. For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with French pop music, particularly that of the 1960s. It’s fabulous. I knew there had to be a name for it, most every genre of music has a name. And, if you search the internet long enough, you actually find what you are looking for.
It’s called ya-ya — or ye-ye. Sometimes chanson music. Of course when I learned the name, I loved the sound even more 🥰. Brigitte Bardot ~ Serge Gainsbourg/Jane Birkin are good examples. However the more I listened and searched I found my favorites for sure.
It’s not all fast, it’s not all upbeat. Some songs are downright draggy, if that’s even a word. But unless they’re actually pretty terrible I usually love them. I’ve got some favorites though 🎶…
Jacques Dutronc, definitely BEGIN HERE. I haven’t heard a song of his that I didn’t like .. his whole catalog is fantastic.
Jacqueline Taieb, whose lyrics I had to google translate, because I just had to know what she was singing about .. turns out she’s deciding what color sweater to wear .. and she has a thing for Paul McCartney!
Jillian Hills, her breathy voice is perfect for lyrics in French .. this is a cover of ‘Leave Me Be’ by the Zombies ..
So there. I could go on and on for days about my favorites. If you also find that you love 60s French Pop, I hope you enjoy my selections on the way to finding yours ☺️!
Romeo and Juliet (1968)
If you watch just one of the many interpretations of Shakespeare’s classic love story, let it be this one. Released in 1968 and directed by Franco Zeffirelli, it stars Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting as the star-crossed young lovers. Virtually unknown when the film was released, they brought an honesty and purity to their performances. They were also age-appropriate to Shakespeare’s story, being still in their teens themselves. Supporting cast is perfect and features a young Michael York (of Austin Powers fame). The locations (Italy), costumes and score by Nino Rota are all breathtaking and lush. By far the most relatable version of this story to the modern and/or casual Shakespeare fan. It won Academy Awards for Cinematography and for Costume Design, and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. Henry Mancini’s version of the love theme from the movie went to #1. It’s streaming FREE in HD on PlutoTV and Movieland Tv.
To Sir, with Love (1967)
This 1967 film based on the novel deals with an unruly classroomful of students gracefully coached into adulthood by a first year teacher, portrayed by the amazing Sidney Poitier. It addresses issues of class and race in a gritty neighborhood of 1960s London. It features a swinging 60s soundtrack, with songs from the Mindbenders and the title song (and huge #1 hit) sung by Lulu. The costumes, hairstyles and music reflect the times perfectly. A young Michael Des Barres (Murdoc in the original ‘MacGyver’ TV series) can be seen in the cast as one of the students. The score was Grammy-nominated but did not win. Climactic ‘ladies choice’ dance scene at the end of the film is worth the wait! It’s streaming FREE on Xumo, it’s a must see.
The Beatles silly second feature film is not as highly regarded as their first, however it is still worth viewing if only to revisit (or to see) what all the buzz was actually about and why they had such an impact. The crazy story of a fan sending Ringo a trinket ring which puts his life in danger for 24 hours is a wonderful musical and scenic romp around the world, from London to the Swiss Alps to the Bahamas. It captures the Beatles in their youthful prime, the early magic still on display. The soundtrack is glorious. The fashions they wore became trends (fisherman’s caps, corduroy pants, boots, collarless Cardin suits, wraparound sunglasses), and most are worn here in the movie. Eleanor Bron’s wardrobe is worth a mention as well, stunning. No awards for this one but a must see all the same. It’s streaming FREE on Movieland Tv.
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Really, anything with Paul Newman starring deserves watching, but this one is such a favorite. Luke is in prison in the mid-century Deep South and refuses or is unable to conform to authority. He thus becomes legendary and inspiring among his fellow prisoners and a threat to the system he is in. The ensemble cast complements Paul Newman’s work and includes early performances of Dennis Hopper, George Kennedy, Wayne Rogers, Harry Dean Stanton and Ralph Waite. Paul Newman was nominated for Best Actor but did not win. However, George Kennedy won a well deserved Best Supporting Actor statue for his performance as Luke’s sidekick in the film. It’s an extremely quotable and enjoyable movie. Paul Newman is radiant. Features the song ‘Plastic Jesus,’ which has been covered by Billy Idol and is worth a listen on its own. It’s streaming FREE on Movieland Tv.
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
The original (and best), this 1968 version of the film stars Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, and features the City of Boston as a supporting player. It deals with a suave and sophisticated businessman/thief (McQueen) who orchestrates the perfect crime, being pursued by a wily insurance investigator (Dunaway). They become involved in a game of cat and mouse and ultimately develop feelings for each other in the process. The movie is as stylish as it is dated, but that may be what I love most about it. Filmed on location in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, it is a gorgeous film to watch. The McQueen/Dunaway sexual chemistry is palpable which adds to the fun. The movie’s theme song, ‘Windmills of Your Mind,’ won the Oscar in 1968 for Best Original Song, and the original movie version was sung by Noel Harrison, perhaps best known as Stefanie Powers’ sidekick Mark Slate in the 1966 TV series ‘The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.’ It’s streaming FREE in HD on PlutoTV.
West Side Story (1961)
I’m not sure who on the planet hasn’t seen this film, but if you haven’t, it is a must. Although the film is SO very politically incorrect in this day and age, its issue of racism does still exist. That being said, the film deserves a look past this to the love story at its heart, loosely based on Romeo and Juliet. The movie has an innocence to it, which is odd due to its subject matter. The music and choreography are incredible as are the costumes and performances. It was nominated for 11 Oscars and got 10 of them, including Best Picture. A young Natalie Wood was radiant as was Richard Beymer. The film also features Rita Moreno and George Chakiris in Best Supporting Actress and Actor Oscar-winning performances. It’s streaming FREE on Movieland Tv.