Sunday, January 24, 2010

In the "it doesn't really make a difference...but it does" category

1970s-era Allied Artists logo preserved on Three the Hard Way DVD

The Warner Communications logo used from the early '70s to early '80s preserved on the DVD of Black Belt Jones

I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed or cared, but it sure was refreshing to see Warner Home Video keep retain the vintage red Warner Communications logo on the new release of Black Belt Jones and the Allied Artists logo on Three the Hard Way, both of which are part of the budget-priced "Urban Action Collection," which also includes Hot Potato and Black Samson. For reasons, I guess, having to do with the fact that they've changed hands several times over the years, studios like Warner Bros. and United Artists have systematically replaced the '70s-era logos on most television and home video transfers with current logos.

United Artists logo from the period it was owned by Transamerica Corporation (1967-1981) preserved on the DVD of Jeremy

So, I was doubly surprised when I watched my new DVD of Jeremy, issued by MGM in 2005, and saw the vintage Transamerica-era United Artists logo at the front of the film. Out of hundreds of WHV and MGM DVDs in my collection these are the only two that I can recall that retain these specific logos. I couldn't say exactly why, but these types of details, inconsequential to most, are crucial, in my eyes, to re-creating the original theatrical experience at home.


J.D. said...

I hear ya. I love the old school studio logos, esp. the ones from the 1970s and 1980s. I thought it was a nice touch that when ZODIAC came out, Fincher purposely had the period-specific studio logos come up before his film started.

Ned Merrill said...

Yes, I did really enjoy that aspect of ZODIAC. Tarantino did the same thing for INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and David Gordon Green for UNDERTOW.

Seems like most of us have an affinity for the '70s and '80s logos, in particular. I think this is at least partially because they are so scarce these days. Transamerica hasn't controlled UA for nearly 30 years and I guess the subsequent owners (MGM, Tom Cruise, ?) don't want people getting the idea that UA isn't theirs so they chop off the Transamerica UA logos most of the time. Doesn't seem to bother Viacom who have no problem retaining Gulf + Western-era logos on appropriate films, however.

Jeremy Richey said...

What JD said...

Dennis Cozzalio said...

There are many other reasons, but posts like these are a large part of why I love this site. Logos are one's entryway into a movie, and for someone like Fincher to recognize the importance of preserving that experience as something more than hollow nostalgia really is fitting. Ned, thanks for the terrific work you do here. (I always loved that UA/Transamerica logo, by the way. It was one I loved recreating when I used to draw mockups of movie posters when I was a kid. That and the old slender-character 20th Century Fox logo they used to use primarily in the advertising for Fox films in the '60s and early '70s. You can see it here down in the lower right corner of this one-sheet for Flaming Star.)

Ned Merrill said...


Thanks for the wonderful complements...that means a lot as I am a big admirer of your work. That thin 20th Century Fox logo is very attractive. Did they ever incorporate into an onscreen logo, I wonder. One of the other things I love about these logos we're talking about, which isn't indicated in the screen captures, is the animated aspect to them.

Other favorites that are difficult to find on DVD, but which I have noticed on recent HD cable broadcasts, are the Avco-Embassy logo (think ESCAPE FROM NY) and late-era Filmways (BLOW OUT).

FYI, the ROCKY DVD I have from 2001 has a different Transamerica UA logo than I have seen anywhere else and, IIRC, one of the SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE DVDs has a black and white Warner Communications logo at the front.