I have spent all day experimenting with titles and dissolves and I thought it might be a good idea to focus them on star entrances, that delightful trope where stars are given a moment in film, like a little bow, a bit of sparkle to delight the audience who has paid money to see them. Star entrances usually fulfil a double function: the delight of recognition as spectacle but also the moment of introducing the star as the character they will play in the film. This type of entrance was a staple of the classic period and became a trope of 1970s all-star films such as The Cassandra Crossing or Murder on The Orient Express or The Towering Inferno or the like.
I’ve put up the initial credit sequence above so you can see a kind of homology between the actors who are top-billed, in this case Richard Harris and Sophia Loren, but whose entrance gets delayed to the end of the sequence, and how the film in fact presents the star entrances. There are those who receive special billing at the end that nonetheless underlines their significance — in this instance Burt Lancaster — but who makes the first star entrance and is given a similar amount of time to Sophia, who is top billed, is given more time than anybody but is presented last.
The ordering of these I’m sure have been as carefully weighed as a vaudeville program of yesteryear. Ava Gardner is magnificently displayed on her own; Ingrid Thulin is rendered significant by the close-ups and the authority of the character she plays but appears into a group. Of the others, John Phillip Law, Martin Sheen merely appear and are barely noticed; others still are given more space than their names and careers would normally have warranted (Ray Lovelock, Anne Turkel), whilst the significance of others still (Lee Strasberg, O.J. Simpson) will be well known to those who grew up in the seventies but might bewilder younger viewers. I hope that seeing the credit sequence above in relation to the star entrances below — presented in order of appearance — will be delightful and instructive, ie maybe have fun and get some idea.
4 thoughts on “Star Entrances in The Cassandra Crossing”
I think I enjoyed this video more than I enjoyed the actual film. There’s agreeable showmanship about these star appearances; check out 1977’s Golden Rendezvous if you have the stomach for such films, but the combination of music and stars makes for a really old-school opening! Thanks for this!
I’m uploading a better version. I tried to make it small for easier ipload and it cropped out names and length. So hopefully will be better by tomorrow. But many thsnks I’m just trying out things and appreciate the feedback
It’s part of my daily ritual to check out your celebration of Burt. Also, some interesting footage of Kirk Douglas in the new Mike Wallace is Here doc, never saw Kirk so vulnerable as in that interview.
oh I shall look for that. I’m also looking for the Phil Donahue Burt which was on youtube until recently and could now kick myself for not having downloaded previously.