Thursday, November 14, 2013

History of the Intertitle

           For this week's post I am branching off a topic I covered on my blog in the Motion Graphics & Animation course. Since I gave the evolution of the title sequence in cinema I thought it would only be fair to do a little segment on the intertitle also referred to as a title card. These filmed printed pieces of text generally conveyed dialogue or narrative on screen to the audience and were simply known as titles during the silent film era. The earliest known use of intertitles was in 1901 for the British film "Scrooge or Marley's Ghost." Here is a look at the silent film and also the intertitles toward the end.

In film today intertitles are still utilized every once in awhile to distinguish various acts of a film or provide a poem, quotation, phrase, etc... Although with the development of sound on film their are still traces of this technique as a modern day artistic device. For example even though intertitles aren't used to narrate the film anymore they are used in Frasier as a gimmick, in BBC's drama Threads and lastly in Law & Order to give date and location; sometimes even more information. Intertitle/title card may be a term of the past but is still apparent in our media world today. Here is some more examples of intertitles...

"The Birth of a Nation" (1915)

"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920)
This is a slightly more stylistic intertitle/ title card.

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