What’s Up With Those Woody Allen Title Sequences?

December 9, 2010

The usual style for Woody Allen films.

As I was watching “Manhattan” last night, it occurred to me: Practically every Woody Allen movie I’ve seen has the same title sequence: an old-timey font for the film name followed by two columns of the main actors, usually with some jazz accompaniment. I noticed this more last night, since it was missing from the opening credits for “Manhattan” – rather, the film title was part of a building, and the actors names appeared during the end credits; however, the end credits did follow Allen’s usual title sequences. Wikipedia states that the vintage typeface used in Allen’s title sequences is usually Windsor Light Condensed, “reminiscent of Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu,” and that Allen has been following this format for most of his films since 1975’s “Love and Death.”

An exception to Allen's title sequences.

My question is: Why does Allen use a similar title sequence for most of his movies? Why doesn’t he follow it for all of his films? Does Allen have OCD? Or is he applying the Woody Allen trademark to his pictures? Graphic designer Cristian “Kit” Paul provided some insight to my questions in a post on his Kit-Blog. While he doesn’t come to any firm conclusions – “Truth is, I don't know whether this is a Kubrick-eque case of typographic fetish or if Woody Allen built a visual identity in order to brand his products.” – Paul does chart which of Allen’s 45 films follow his title-sequence tradition of the white Windsor font on a black screen. Obsessive? Well, what would you expect from someone analyzing Woody Allen?

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About Jennifer Moline

Jennifer Moline writes for the PsPrint Blog as well as maintains its Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Pinterest presences. She also guest-blogs for such notable graphic design blogs as Fuel Your Creativity and Inspiredology. She’s previously written about technology and small business for news websites, magazines and newspapers. In her off-hours, Jennifer can be found roughing it in the mountains or tucked away in a movie theater.

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