Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial BET Adds 2 New Original Movies + New Series, and More to Its Summer Lineup BET Adds 2 New Original Movies + New Series, and More to Its Summer Lineup Official First Look Images from Detroit-Set indie drama ‘Wolf Who Cried Boy’ Official First Look Images from Detroit-Set indie drama ‘Wolf Who Cried Boy’ Morgan Freeman's Bass Reeves Project Finally Gets a Lift, Thanks to HBO Morgan Freeman's Bass Reeves Project Finally Gets a Lift, Thanks to HBO First Look at CBS' 'Rush Hour' Series + Official Synopsis First Look at CBS' 'Rush Hour' Series + Official Synopsis What Did You Think of 'Bessie' After Last Night's Premiere? What Did You Think of 'Bessie' After Last Night's Premiere? Interview: Robert Ri'chard and Imani Hakim on Child Stardom to "Chocolate City" Interview: Robert Ri'chard and Imani Hakim on Child Stardom to "Chocolate City" Watch B.B. King Tell His Story in 1972 BBC Documentary, 'Sounding Out' Watch B.B. King Tell His Story in 1972 BBC Documentary, 'Sounding Out' Here's Another New CW Series That I Would Consider Taking a Look At... Trailer #2 Is Much Longer Here's Another New CW Series That I Would Consider Taking a Look At... Trailer #2 Is Much Longer Spike Lee Finally Breaks Silence on 'Chiraq' - "Everything I've Done Has Led Up to This Film" Spike Lee Finally Breaks Silence on 'Chiraq' - "Everything I've Done Has Led Up to This Film" New York Women in Film & Television Now Accepting Applications for Its Four 2015 Funds for Women Filmmakers New York Women in Film & Television Now Accepting Applications for Its Four 2015 Funds for Women Filmmakers So Now It's Rick Famuyiwa for Marvel’s 'Black Panther' and Ava DuVernay for 'Captain Marvel'? So Now It's Rick Famuyiwa for Marvel’s 'Black Panther' and Ava DuVernay for 'Captain Marvel'? Watch Wesley Snipes & Damon Gupton in First Trailer for NBC's 'Endgame' (Set for Thursday Nights at 10pm) Watch Wesley Snipes & Damon Gupton in First Trailer for NBC's 'Endgame' (Set for Thursday Nights at 10pm) Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

'The Film Before The Film: An Introduction To The History of Title Sequences In 10 Minutes'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act April 25, 2013 at 6:11PM

'The Film Before The Film: An Introduction To The History of Title Sequences In 10 Minutes'
1
Do The Right Thing

A short history lesson here that I landed on my virtual desk and that I thought was worth sharing. 


It did also remind me of an old piece I wrote on the old S&A site 3 years ago or so, on memorable title sequences. And the one that I highlighted with was Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing.

It's a film that stands the test of time, and the 4-minute title intro alone could be its own film (the film before the film). Rosie Perez, fueled by the Chuck D's coarse, urgent voice and lyrics, and Terminator X's beats, literally fights the power, as the tracks title suggests. 

Her colorful (literally and figuratively) dance routine exudes a range of emotions - simultaneously oozing sexuality and sensuality, combined with a confidence, vulnerability and ferocity, all in an expression of power and struggle, clueing the audience in to what kind of a ride to expect for the subsequent 2 hours. 

And I think this will always be remembered as one of the most unforgettable opening title sequences in film history. No CGI, no elaborate camera movements, no trickery. It's simple enough, but it works! 

And when the 4 minutes ends, you're sufficiently open and invigorated for whatever comes next. 

Refresh your memory of it all in the video clip below, and then answer the question that follows: Any other memorable title sequences from "black films" that you can think of? 

But first, here's the short documentary history of title sequences in movies - from the simple informative usually white text on black backgrounds in the very early silent days of cinema, to the changes that came with the advent of sound film, when they started to become more personalized, to the introduction of computer generated graphics, to becoming the form of high art that they are today - or the film before the film. 

The short informative doc was a research project at the Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule.

Watch it below, and then, underneath you'll find Rosie Perez fighting the power:




Shadow & ActNewsletter