I DIG MOVIE STUDIO LOGOS PT. 1

After exhausting the subject of film leader (see previous three posts) I’m moving onto what comes after the leader is finished counting down. And that would be the logo of the studio who produced/released the film. Logos are an essential part of the filmgoing experience as they set up an expectation–dramatically or graphically or musically–of the pomp of the presentation that is to follow. We all know the MGM lion (the annoyingly named ‘Leo’) which promised robust entertainment and the Columbia torch lady (I’m not sure what she promised exactly but it felt semi-majestic). But what of the logos of the cheapo studios of yesteryear? The Monograms, the PRC’s, the Allied Artists? Were they appropriately low-rent given the budgets and the material that was shortly to follow? Far from it. Witness the above logo from Monogram pictures in the late 1930s, a veritable masterpiece of art deco-city-scape-futurism complete with planes and blimps and automobiles flying in and out of skyscrapers and a general sense of Rube Goldberg meets Raymond Hood meets Ayn Rand/Howard Roark. Alas the films that followed this stunning logo were generally poverty-stricken efforts starring once-famous actors (in the above case Bela Lugosi) on their way down the ladder of Hollywood stardom. But the logo remains shiny and cool and worthy of a few seconds of your attention…

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