Thursday, August 7, 2003

Woody Allen's Manhattan

Yesterday Dave Reidy of the Coudal Partners wrote:

With a new Woody Allen film on its way, thoughts turn to his signature typeface, and the fact that none of us know what the hell it is. We think it’s this one. If you know differently, let us know.

I’d guessed that it was this one instead, at least for some of his late 70’s/early 80’s films. But since I’m such a big fan of his movies, I decided to take a closer look. I took all ten of the Woody Allen DVDs that I own and captured the title screens. As often as I’ve watched them, I was surprised to learn that his signature Windsor wasn’t used until Annie Hall then abandoned for two films, and that no titles were used whatsoever in Manhattan — just scenes of New York over his magnificent opening monologue. Seeing the titles side by side shows the nuances of using different studios and designers throughout the years, even if the base font family remained unchanged for 20+ years. Take a look at Ten Woody Allen Title Screens


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by zlog » Aug 8, 2003 1:34 AM

This site is stealing bandwidth?

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by Scott Steffens » Aug 8, 2003 9:09 AM

Your browser isn't using referrers correctly -- but thanks for letting me know you saw that message. [zlog is referring to a graphic that says "This site is stealing bandwidth" that appeared in place of the Woody Allen graphics, as an attempt to stop people from linking to grahpics on this site thus stealing my bandwidth. But it obviously misfired, since regular users of this site should never see that message.]

I had to put a measure in place to stop people from using images on my site for their own needs because it was causing a horrendous amount of bandwidth use, and just really annoying knowing that I was footing the bill for some dude's guitar site, and someone else's fantasy role playing site, among others.

I obviously need to modify this so "no referrer" (even if the referrer should be "contactsheet.org" when you're legitimately viewing graphics on my site) can still view graphics without getting the special message.

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by Jason Tselentis » Aug 12, 2003 11:11 AM

As a big Woody Allen fan, I am super excited. From what I can see in the preview, we have the spirit and neurosis of Woody embodied in a charming Jason Biggs. It's nice to see Woody's still making films. Looking at your virtual museum of title shots, we can appreciate the character given to each film's title through typography.

Scorcese is another filmmaker who respects and appreciates how typography creates an identity. While he employed Saul Bass to produce his opening sequences, I've never been that familiar with Allen's process or authority in the design. Does Woody farm it out? How much control does he have in the image that is portrayed of his film? In addition to Bananas, Manhattan, Alice, Annie Hall, and Sleepers, another great example is Zelig. Like the title character who shifts and morphs from one person to another, the film's title shifts from one typographic vernacular to the next .

When I first saw the preview of Anything Else, I knew right away it was a Woody Allen because the characters and events yelled Woody. At the close of the preview, the title shot had more teen movie appeal than Woody appeal. Think Freaky Friday or My Boss's Daughter. Perhaps Woody is trying to tap a new audience. We'll know after a screening.

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by nick » Aug 29, 2003 6:22 AM

I'd have to agree with Windsor EF Light Condensed. Seems to be the closest but not exactly perfect. I was thrown off by the titles for the new film, defintely gave me a teenage vibe, but i have a feeling the actual credits will reveal the familiar typeface...

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by the girl » Aug 29, 2003 6:38 AM

What is that sans-serif font for Interiors anyway? It's not right, I tell you. I agree that the Windsor EF Light Condensed seems the closest for Woody's typical serif font.

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by Austin » Aug 29, 2003 7:14 AM

it reminds me of the covers of some of his books. *shrug*

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by Rob » Aug 29, 2003 7:54 AM

Definately the Winsor ... it's got a very unique uppercase S and lowercase m that seem to match exactly (as far as I can tell) to your screen captures. I've never actually seen a Woody Allen movie ... does that make me weird?

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by Matt McIrvin » Aug 29, 2003 1:19 PM

Hmm, on the whole the movies were better back when the fonts varied.

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by Phil » Sep 2, 2003 8:30 AM

I'm using Bloglines.com to read my RSS feeds and I get the "This site is stealing bandwidth" graphic there too - do other RSS readers suffer the same?

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by Andrew Boardman » Sep 2, 2003 6:24 PM

For about four years, I've noticed that whenver I type anything in Windsor BT light, it looks like a Woody Allen joke. I thought I was the only one. More info can be found about Stephenson Blake, the owner of the typeface design, here: http://www.myfonts.com/foundry/stephensonblake/

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by ss » Sep 3, 2003 12:57 PM

I'm using Bloglines.com to read my RSS feeds and I get the "This site is stealing bandwidth" graphic there too

Actually the RSS feeds don't contain any graphics. I prefer people to view the full content of the site on the site itself, and not through a site scraper, which is probably why the message appears.

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by James Montalbano » Sep 3, 2003 8:11 PM

Windsor Elongated is the font in question

http://www.fontfinder.ws/22371/Windsor-EF-Elongated.html

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by Craig P » Sep 4, 2003 5:28 PM

"I prefer his earlier, funnier fonts."

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by Klavans Judith » Dec 20, 2003 11:30 PM

The words of truth are always paradoxical.

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by O'Brien Megan » Feb 27, 2004 5:39 AM

Cultivated people foster what is good in others, not what is bad. Petty people do the opposite.

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