Promises in the Dark: Opening Title Sequences in American Feature Films of the Sound Period  

Abstract Category: Arts
Course / Degree: Film Studies
Institution / University: University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
Published in: 2001

Thesis Abstract / Summary:

This is an historical, statistical and theoretical study of film title sequences, which examines their key role in American cinema. I seek to demonstrate that recurrent styles and structures are closely associated with particular periods and genres as well as title sequence designers. I also consider the impact on title design of such factors as the structure of the studio system, the machinations of unions, available technology and the influence of aesthetic tastes and movements not specific to cinema, I also make extensive use of close textual analysis. This involves scrutiny of the typography and arrangement of actual titles as well as the background image and soundtrack. My findings highlight some theoretical issues that have broader implications for American film history, including the ways in which stylistic changes occur. My thesis is based on primary research and involves a sample of 2636 films, the details of which are held in a computerised database that permits statistical analysis. Through this detailed empirical study of title sequences, I aim to remedy inaccuracies in previous studies. In the first chapter, I survey previous critical and historical work in the field, including both academic writing and the trade press. Chapter two explores the main functions fulfilled by title sequences, making special reference to narration. Chapter three provides a history of stylistic change. Chapter four investigates generic variations, using the Western genre as a case study. Chapter five considers formal experimentation in title sequences, and their relation to the avant-garde.

Thesis Keywords/Search Tags:
Credit Sequences; Title Sequences; Main Titles; Titling

This Thesis Abstract may be cited as follows:
Deborah Allison, "Promises in the Dark: Opening Title Sequences in American Feature Films of the Sound Period" (University of East Anglia Ph.D, 2001)

Submission Details: Thesis Abstract submitted by Deborah Allison from United Kingdom on 27-Jan-2005 00:00.
Abstract has been viewed 3182 times (since 7 Mar 2010).

Deborah Allison Contact Details: Email: deborah.allison@whsmithnet.co.uk

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