Created By: Jordan on July 23, 2011 Last Edited By: Jordan on September 27, 2011
Nuked

A Certain Credits Style

60s style credits found in spy/caper works

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Up for Grabs. This is something I suggested a long time ago, and after seeing more examples of it recently, wanted to suggest it again and see if anyone could name it/describe it better.

This is a credit style that tends to have like silhouettes of characters fighting or being chased and will have a kind of minimalist, jazzy theme to it. I know The Pink Panther was one of the inspirations and the James Bond titles might also have something to do with it (more in terms of animation than the music), and I've heard reference to Saul Bass (e.g. North by Northwest and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) as an inspiration too.

Because of when the inspirations are set, this is common for works set in the 1960s or which have the general aesthetic of that decade. Expect this for anything that invokes the Tuxedo and Martini style.

Here's some examples to make it clearer:

Anime

Film

Live Action Television

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 47
  • July 23, 2011
    JonnyB
  • July 23, 2011
    YouKeepUsingThatWord
    If you are going with the Cowboy Bebop and Archer titles, then take a look at Pablo Ferro's titles for The Thomas Crown Affair:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELgjuHTbT3o

  • July 23, 2011
    JonnyB
    ^ That definitely fits.

    Most of the James Bond credits probably fit this trope.
  • July 23, 2011
    Jordan
    Found another example- the title sequence for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

    Edit- I'm finding that like if you find one of these examples, there will be other links on Youtube, and it does seem like Saul Bass is the codifier of this.
  • July 23, 2011
    TonyG
    I suggest Standard Spy Title Sequence as a title. A subtrope of Artistic Title.
  • July 23, 2011
    katiek
    Not sure how this would be categorized, but this video imagines if Saul Bass (largely the originator of the style) did the Star Wars credits.
  • July 23, 2011
    Jordan
    ^^ Oh, I like that title suggestion.

    ^Cool video. One of the comments on ^that video echoed my thoughts on how much this was reminiscent of the Cowboy Bebop credit style.
  • July 23, 2011
    JonnyB
    Since it's been mentioned, a lot of the Pink Panther films' credits would also fit the trope.

    And yes, Saul Bass is pretty much the trope codifier, if not the Trope Maker, since I think he invented the thing and everyone else just copied him.
  • July 24, 2011
    BuckRivera
    Might clash with Design Students Orgasm. At the very least, some of the examples from there should be moved here. But I suspect that in the end we'll have two ill-defined tropes because this is about spy and caper film titles and the other one is associated with advertising - but the visual style is very similar, if not the same. In my mind they should be merged. Alternatively, both need to be more clearly distinguished.
  • July 24, 2011
    pinkdalek
    The Spaghetti Westerns frequently used a similar style, most famously The Dollars Trilogy and its rotoscoped silhouettes of horses.
  • July 24, 2011
    randomsurfer
  • July 24, 2011
    Jordan
    ^^ Yeah, I see there's some overlap in that trope, which I wasn't familiar with, but which seems somewhat ill-defined. Also interesting you say advertising, as Mad Man has a somewhat comparable opening, although not one that I thing quite fits the spy/cpaer one I'm describing.
  • July 24, 2011
    goodtimesfreegrog
    In the interest of brevity, I suggest Groovy Titles as a name.

    Also, Metal Gear Solid 3 has this as its title sequence, complete with Bond-esque title song.
  • July 24, 2011
    katiek
    ^^ Hmm, I think of groovy titles as being more swirly/psychedelic. Mod Titles might be better. But I like the brevity.
  • July 24, 2011
    YouKeepUsingThatWord
    I was trying to remember the name of this one, Mannix: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF_49tWPNWA

    And thanks to youtube's "suggested" videos, It Takes A Thief: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKT_hWv_fbQ

    I think it was an adoption of the Swiss Style of graphic design towards movie titles. Elements placed on a grid, visual rhythm, stark solid unadorned typography.
  • July 24, 2011
    BuckRivera
    This design school is used in both this and most of the stuff listed in Design Students Orgasm. What sets them apart seems to be 1) the genre (caper/spy) and 2) the latter's tendency to use white backgrounds and floral/viral growth animation. That distinction is all over the place.

    Seeing that this is not too far along in terms of development, I'd suggest to include the spy/caper reference (and examples) in Design Students Orgasm for clarity.

    Don't get me wrong, you brought up a very valid point with this. It's just that the co-existence of these two articles would be problematic.
  • July 24, 2011
    katiek
    Not sure which of those would be valid:

    Oh, and I don't think this is entirely the same as Design Students Orgasm. There is overlap, but this one is more specific. Saul Bass was doing something specific with a starkly minimal iconography of images. Some of the examples in the other include more florid and decorative styles,

    It is largely caper, but it seems like "anything by Otto Preminger" could be added.
  • July 24, 2011
    Jordan
    Yes to all except the last two (strange that Oceans Eleven, being a caper film, wouldnt' have them).
  • July 24, 2011
    YouKeepUsingThatWord
    The examples of the Coke ad and the Fruitopia, plus the use of "purple prose" "flowery" and "ornate" makes Design Students Orgasm feel like a different thing to me.

    Compare Dr. No to Casino Royale:

    Dr. No http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dSpoKZWb2Y

    Casino Royale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg5lI6NCBxE

    They both tend to use clean lines and silhouettes, but then what they do with that is very different. One is all about the grid, and repetition, the other goes for a more organic feel, and becomes downright baroque in how much stuff is in there.
  • July 24, 2011
    JonnyB
    This intro for the prototype to the Roger Moore Bond films, The Saint.
  • July 25, 2011
    BuckRivera
    ^^ The two styles you identify get mixed, often in the same credits sequence. And the rotoscoped dancers are a staple of both - only that nowadays they're not rotoscoped. For example, the Dr. No intro has them (this trope), but the iPod commercials have the very same thing (Design Students Orgasm). But then, the latter lack the flowery explosions - so list them under caper films?

    If you look at all the examples at DSO, all the elements postulated for this are there already. The distinction is extremely messy.
  • July 25, 2011
    LarryD
    Live Action TV series, I Spy [1]
  • July 25, 2011
    YouKeepUsingThatWord
    ^^ Now I think the original meaning of Design Students Orgasm was the flowery explosion itself. I usually called them growing vines. So I wouldn't be able to say the Casino Royale titles were a DSO overall, but they include some DSO when they start having swirls come out of his gun and playing card tentacles everywhere.
  • July 25, 2011
    bbofun
  • July 25, 2011
    bbofun
    I can keep going, if you'd like :)
  • July 25, 2011
    JonnyB
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP2TEdOAldQ The Time Tunnel intro fits this trope.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYCgq8q9Ofw I'm not sure if The Wild Wild West intro fits or not.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjDXz2e6fRQ Land of the Giants might count. It's a hybrid of this and live shots. (I could only find this badly filmed Spanish version, sorry.)
  • July 25, 2011
    GKaiser
    No One Lives Forever, by virtue of being a love letter to old spy movies, naturally has one.
  • July 25, 2011
    hotrods4ben
    The end credits for X-Men First Class, since it homages so many 60's action/spy movies and TV shows.

    (I don't remember if the opening did this too.)
  • July 25, 2011
    katiek
    Spytles ouch. no, not really.
  • July 25, 2011
    Jordan
    I'd personally lean toward calling this Saul Bass Style Credits, although I realize that isn't all that intuitive, so maybe Sixties Spy Sihouettes Credits would be better.
  • July 26, 2011
    BuckRivera
    I suggest to take Design Students Orgasm to the repair shop instead and try to develop the history of the trope from Saul Bass to iPod. A rename of DSO would make sense then, but isn't a must (as design students may well wank over sixties credit sequences). A merged article could list all the elements: crisp colors, monochromatic backgrounds, grid patterns, blinking dots of light, silhouetted dancers, floral explosions, fractals etc.
  • July 27, 2011
    treelo
    DSO is in the repair shop though for entirely different reasons though there's nothing stopping you from having two threads regarding a trope if the concerns aren't the same. I'd be totally for a rename if not a whole teardown of DSO with much of this YKTTW taking over from it because DSO is... well, it's unfocussed negativity towards design styles people dislike which isn't a trope, the title alone is enough to tell people that.
  • July 27, 2011
    treelo
  • July 27, 2011
    Madrugada
    Don't limit it to the Sixties. The fifth season of Charlie's Angles used it too, and that was 1980. Although elements of it were already in the second season credits, in 1977.

    And please don't make a second TRS for Design Students Orgasm.
  • July 27, 2011
    hotrods4ben
    Sexy Spy Sequence or Sillhouetted Spy Sequence or... Jazzy Spy Credits... Sixties Spy Credits (this was prevalent in the 60s and therefore 60s pastiches)

    Just tossing some ideas out. By the way, what's the ratio of animated to live-action?
  • July 27, 2011
    JonnyB
    Personally, I don't think this has a thing to do with DSO, although the two styles do cross over a lot.
  • July 27, 2011
    packardcaribien
    How about Sixties Modernist Credits?
  • August 27, 2011
    pokedude10
    It's been a month since the last post, is this going anywhere?
  • August 28, 2011
    JonnyB
  • September 22, 2011
    WillBGood
    I feel like we ought to keep Saul Bass in the name. As for silhouetted dancers, that might be a subtrope, as the "usually-naked-girls-with-stuff-projected-on-them" Bond movie credits were the work of Maurice Binder.
  • September 23, 2011
    TonyG
    Saul Bass definitely needs a page of his own.
  • September 23, 2011
    Duncan
    Obviously, a subtrope of Animated Credits Opening.
  • September 23, 2011
    Arivne
    Here's an image you can use if you feel like it. I grabbed it from Catch Me If You Can.

    quoteright:350: Picture

    Edit: This post was edited by Arivne to change a picture that was breaking YKTTW to a link. The original poster was Artistic Platypus. Artistic Platypus, to put your name back on this post just edit it in any way, such as by deleting this paragraph.
  • September 23, 2011
    azul120
    Saul Bass Title Sequence sounds pretty plausible to me.
  • September 27, 2011
    JonnyB
    I think the opening titles for Jeeves And Wooster count.
  • September 27, 2011
    Micah
  • September 27, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Monty Python also has "The Bishop."

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