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End Credits


ElCid
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I have noticed that many movies on TCM from the 30's and 40's do not have end credits.  Many DVD's for this period that I purchase also do not show the end credits.

Anybody know why?   I like to see who played certain roles after I watch the movie.  

Realize that you can Google these movies and find out this information or use TCM database. 

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I believe these films should have had opening credits. Your query would seem to imply they had neither.

 

The Star Wars franchise changed all that. Lucas wanted the films to run without opening credits, so he started with the name of the film and the opening crawl. He was allowed to slide on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, but The Director's Guild filed a grievance when he repeated this with Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back - Lucas lost and paid a fine. After this, rules were set up so that the Director's name could be listed as the first credit after the end of the movie. Once that was allowed, producers started doing this more regularly. Lucas then withdrew from the Directors and Writers Guilds and the Motion Picture Association.

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movies had opening credits only through the 1960's with few exceptions. some, in the early 30's, were quite brief. beginning about 1970 the practice of showing closing credits and brief opening credits became the norm.

 

i suppose some of this was to give the film a "modern" presentation but it was also driven by unions which negotiated contractually for credits and also for producers looking for "freebies" like cars as props or services like location food services in return for on-creen credit. as the use of screen credit became more and more lengthy it made little sense to load-up the front credits with what was essentially advertising. so many of these type of credits appear after the end of the movie.

 

speaking of "The End", that finishing note at the conclusion of a movie was a victim of extended end credits. i guess such a note would send people out of the theater without reading the plugs that were to follow.

 

i've noticed that opening credits have returned to a pretty full listing of those directly involved in the direct production of the film. of course, these credits are included again when the closing roll of credits finishes the film. so some people get credit twice. i've even seen an occasional three times for cast headliners (opening, closing, and "order of appearance" during closing).

 

i think it's pretty much a lot of ballyhoo about very little that anyone cares about.

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I believe these films should have had opening credits. Your query would seem to imply they had neither.
 
The Star Wars franchise changed all that. Lucas wanted the films to run without opening credits, so he started with the name of the film and the opening crawl. He was allowed to slide on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, but The Director's Guild filed a grievance when he repeated this with Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back - Lucas lost and paid a fine. After this, rules were set up so that the Director's name could be listed as the first credit after the end of the movie. Once that was allowed, producers started doing this more regularly. Lucas then withdrew from the Directors and Writers Guilds and the Motion Picture Association.

 

Thought I was clear when I said end credits.  They do have opening credits, but these often just list the actors without stating the roles.  Talking about movies from 30's and 40's, not newer ones. 

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Guess I need to clarify this.  Talking about OLD movies from 30's and 40's, maybe 50's.  The opening credits at beginning of movie shows the actors, but not the roles they play.  I believe most (all?) movies would have had credits at the end of the movie listing the actors and the roles they played.  I have seen some that did.  However, many don't.  I wonder if they were cut at some point to reduce the running time or to reduce cost of updating them for current showing.

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Thought I was clear when I said end credits.  They do have opening credits, but these often just list the actors without stating the roles.  Talking about movies from 30's and 40's, not newer ones. 

 

Actually, Cid---MANY movies from the '30's and '40's would list what roles the actors played in the opening credits.  THAT'S a practice discontinued in more recent times.

 

Sepiatone

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I believe Superman was the first film to credit the caterer. Its seemingly endless credit crawl got a lot of attention at the time, but is pretty much the norm now.

 

I've always thought a lot of emotional impact for film endings was lost when these crawls came into being. Think of the classic last shot of Hud, as Newman smirks and shuts the door. We hear a few guitar strums from Elmer Bernstein, see the Paramount mountain, and it's over.

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Silents often had a cast list at the beginning. Sometimes in false modesty the star like Fairbanks or Harold Lloyd was listed last -- Orson Welles would do this latter bit at the end of Citizen Kane.

 
Cast lists got switched to the end with talkies, possibly inspired by Universal's "A Good Cast Is Worth Repeating".
 
There was also the Warners style of listing the cast at the opening with shots of them from the film, but this had pretty much died out by the late '30s. (Doesn't The Sting pay homage to this?). A number of films from the '50s have these credits at the end, such as Somebody Up There Likes Me up to The Great Escape.
 
I've seen prints of Republic westerns from the '40s with the credits at the end, although these may have been edited specifically for TV. Universal occasional experimented with end credits, as can be seen in Red Ball Express (1952) and Cape Fear (1962).
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