December 24, 2008

Memorable Marriage of Words and Images in the film To Kill a Mockingbird

Film still of To Kill a Mockingbird from scott_waterman, Flickr

Robert Mulligan, who directed the film To Kill a Mockingbird, based on Harper Lee’s novel, passed away on December 21. A key part of this film’s staying power is due to its evocative beginning. The opening sequence was designed by Stephen O. Frankfurt, a graphic designer and art director who practiced a “less-is-more approach.” Though decidedly spare, the initial images—objects from a cigar box—fully set the stage. And as the story unfolds, their importance is revealed. With Elmer Bernstein’s equally spare score, the melding of images and music make the opening sequence a beautiful prelude of visual narrative.

See the opening sequence of To Kill a Mockingbird at The Art of the Title Sequence.