Thursday, June 5, 2014

up next: entertainment editor

Before Groundhog Day proper gets started, we get the studio logo, of course. A little background: Columbia Pictures started as Cohn-Brandt-Cohn Film Sales in 1919. Columbia, by the way, was the name for the United States of America in Samuel Johnson’s Reports of the Debates of the Senate of Lilliput, a camouflaged publication of British Parliament’s debates. It went on to become the feminized personification of America, and so when C•B•C changed its name in 1924, the new logo was a woman (originally, a Roman soldier woman, but then by 1928 something more like the one above).

Some background on this entry: I realized as the movie was starting tonight that I never said anything about the credits. I remembered Lawrence Dai doing a thing about the title card of Julie & Julia and looked it up. That was his Day 6. Missed it by 301 days. Anyway, GroundhogDay’s main titles are very simple, a basic serif font, close to a Garamond but not quite.

(And, yes, the font can make a difference...)

(See.)

Trevor Albert seems to have gotten his start as Harold Ramis’ assistant on Caddyshack. He worked with Ramis on Groundhog Day, Multiplicity and Bedazzled.

Ramis made a lot of movies. I’ve written about him many times, notably for three days (1 2 3) after he died back in February.

I find it interesting that not only Bill Murray but also Andie MacDowell get credited above the title. Sure, she’s got a huge part here, but I’m not sure she was a particularly known quantity for the audience going in… of course, this is the Main Titles, not the Movie Poster. Only Bill Murray’s name was above the title on the poster.

Now, the title in the actual font.

Then, we’re inside the news studio, Phil does his report and the credits pick up again briefly as he finishes and heads over to talk to Nan (Hairdo) before leaving.

That’s Nancy Taylor and Florence Lancaster sharing the screen.

That’s Gus, Ralph and Doris.

(And, Phil’s and Nan’s poses in this screencap are almost like they are going to kiss… or am I the only one who sees that?)

And, that’s all for the cast… and the credits as we get another brief bit with Phil and Larry and Phil’s assistant Kenny. Once the movie transitions into the TV monitor and we’re flying toward Pittsburgh, the main titles continue.

This seems to be the only film Feuer cast for Ramis.

Same for Fenton doing the music, though Fenton and Feuer worked on a few of the same movies, including Dangerous Liaisons and The Fisher King, and they both did work with Ramis again on Multiplicity.

Jennifer Butler had worked with both Harold Ramis and Bill Murray before, and she would marry and divorce Murray.

Pem Herring edited for Ramis a few times. He was an editor as far back as the 60s, working on the Daniel Boone TV show.

Nichols and Bailey seem to have only worked with Ramis on this one film. Here the titles go away again as we get the conversation inside the van.

The titles get going again as we the film enters Woodstock as Punxsutawney (a moment that got applause at both screenings I attended in Woodstock, Groundhog Day weekend). By the way, C.O. “Doc” Erickson also plays the bank guard Herman in Groundhog Day.

Danny Rubin says of these writing credits in How to Write Groundhog Day,

I was wildly focused on keeping sole writing credit on the movie. It seemed to me that this was such an original story, a real signature writer’s movie, that it would be just the right shingle for me to hang at the launch of my career. And a sole credit would mean more money, which was also a concern at the time.

Harold not only refined and distilled the mechanics of the screenplay, I think he was largely responsible for the ultimate structure of the final work. If this is a perfectly crafted screenplay, as some have asserted, I certainly played my part but it wouldn’t have come together so well if it had just been me. Harold should certainly get credit for that, and he did.

And, that’s that. The main action begins.

Today’s reason to repeat a day forever: to make some credits that will roll at the end of my life, listing all the major players, the bit parts, the behind-the-scenes folks… I think I could use a better lighting guy and a better key grip, you know, just for the record.

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