Sunday, June 21, 2009

Baby, Take a Bow

These are the opening credits to W.C. Fields' It's a Gift.

The closing credits are limited to a single title card.

These credits are actually more extensive than most were at the time. Most films wouldn't have let the audience know that Spencer Charters played the gate guard.

Compare this to the credits in a recent episode of NBC's Heroes.

Individual credits have to be provided for fifteen cast members. Other individual credits are displayed on screen for an editor, a production designer, a director of photography, a music composer, two producers, two co-producers, four executive producers, five co-executive producers, and three consulting producers. Everyone has to get an individual credit on screen. Hollywood has no unsung artists - everyone has to be sung. In this particular episode of Heroes, thirty-six credit titles are spread out through the span of three scenes. The credits roll persistently while the action introduces important plot points and dramatic moments.

I concede that the master painters started the tradition of artists signing their work. But, for the record, most painters left their work unsigned for fear a signature would detract from the painting. Even when the paintings were signed, the signature was kept as small as possible and confined to an inconspicuous corner of the painting. Leonardo da Vinci didn't sign his name in big block letters across Mona Lisa's chest. You want to see Rembrandt's signature on a painting? There it is, get out a magnifying glass or you might miss it.

Vanity, thy name is Hollywood.

This blog entry was written by, directed by and produced by Anthony Balducci.

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