Imagine a publisher of a book about Van Gogh saying this to :“Meh. I’m not that fond of this “Vincent” signature on this painting. Let’s get rid of it and replace it with Comic Sans.” I don’t think many art lovers would be interested in buying the book after a decision like that. I admit a title sequence is not really comparable to a signature on a painting, but it is part of a work of art. In fact, it’s the first thing you’ll see while experiencing the work of art. If you replace certain elements you’re rewriting history. Cinema history.

The chosen fonts are often close to the original versions, so I often shrug and try to ignore this phenomenon. But this time it’s the Criterion Collection, a company often praised for their high standards, that’s rewriting cinema history. The original opening credits on their Blu-ray of Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto (Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, 1970) have been replaced. Instead of white letters set in Recta (“the Italian Helvetica”) we get blue/green credits set in Arial (a font published in 1982, 12 years AFTER this film came out).

What’s even worse: they’ve done it before. The opening and closing credits of the silent film Lonesome (1928) are all fake.

This is unacceptable and has to stop. Either use the original titles or don’t use titles at all. There shouldn’t be any other option.

Below all examples I could find of films with recreated opening credits. One exception: the Fantasia Blu-ray features the original titles, the DVD contains non-original titles.



DVD (MK2). Titles set in Friz Quadrata.
Blu-ray (Cohen Media Group) Titles set in Minion.

L’Enfer (1994)

Directed by: 
Claude Chabrol
Starring: 
Emmanuelle Béart, François Cluzet, Nathalie Cardone, André Wilms, Jean-Pierre Cassel
Country: 
France
DVD. Titles set in Garamond.
Blu-ray (BFI, Region ‘B’) Titles set in Palatino.

Cobra Verde (1987)

Directed by: 
Werner Herzog
Starring: 
Klaus Kinski, King Ampaw, José Lewgoy, Salvatore Basile
Country: 
West Germany
Blu-ray (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, France)
Blu-ray (Warner Home Video, USA)

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Directed by: 
Hugh Hudson
Starring: 
Nicholas Farrell, Nigel Havers, Ian Charleson, Ian Holm
Country: 
USA
DVD. Titles set in Beton.
Blu-ray (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, USA). Beton replaced with Rockwell.

Stripes (1981)

Directed by: 
Ivan Reitman
Starring: 
Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, John Candy
Country: 
USA

Title design: 
Burke Mattsson
HD
Blu-ray (Gaumont, France)

Atlantic City (1980)

Directed by: 
Louis Malle
Starring: 
Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon, Kate Reid, Michel Piccoli, Hollis McLaren
Country: 
France
DVD (Warner Bros.) Titles set in Helvetica.
Blu-ray (Warner Bros.) Titles set in Univers.

The Big Red One (1980)

Directed by: 
Samuel Fuller
Starring: 
Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, Bobby Di Cicco
Country: 
USA
DVD.
Blu-ray (all three releases: BFI, Arthaus, Region ‘B’, Shout! Factory, Region ‘A’)

Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979)

Directed by: 
Werner Herzog
Starring: 
Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz
Country: 
West Germany
DVD. Titles set in Optima.
Blu-ray (Carlotta Films, France) Titles set in Friz Quadrata.

Fedora (1978)

Directed by: 
Billy Wilder
Starring: 
William Holden, Marthe Keller, Hildegard Knef, Henry Fonda
Country: 
USA
Blu-ray (Olive Films)
Blu-ray (Dall’Angelo Pictures, Region ‘B’)

Novecento (1976)

Directed by: 
Bernardo Bertolucci
Starring: 
Robert De Niro, Gérard Depardieu, Dominique Sanda, Sterling Hayden
Country: 
Italy
DVD (Optimum World)
Blu-ray (StudioCanal)

Le juge et l’assassin (1976)

Directed by: 
Bertrand Tavernier
Starring: 
Philippe Noiret, Michel Galabru, Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Claude Brialy
Country: 
France
DVD.
Blu-ray

Amici miei (1975)

Directed by: 
Mario Monicelli
Starring: 
Ugo Tognazzi, Gastone Moschin, Philippe Noiret, Bernard Blier, Adolfo Celi
Country: 
Italy
DVD. Titles set in ± Goudy Heavyface
Blu-ray. Titles set in Cooper Black

Hard Times (1975)

Directed by: 
Walter Hill
Starring: 
Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Jill Ireland, Strother Martin, Margaret Blye
Country: 
USA
Title design: 
Burke Mattsson
DVD.
Blu-ray.

Section spéciale (1975)

Directed by: 
Costa-Gavras
Starring: 
Louis Seigner, Roland Bertin, Michael Lonsdale, Ivo Garrani, Michel Galabru
Country: 
France
DVD. Titles set in Helvetica.
Blu-ray. Helvetica replaced with Arial (a font published in 1982, 11 years AFTER this film came out).

Shaft (1971)

Directed by: 
Gordon Parks
Starring: 
Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi, Christopher St. John, Gwenn Mitchell
Country: 
USA
Title design: 
Burke Mattsson
DVD (Carlotta, France). The original titles, set in Recta. The same typeface was used for two other films directed by Petri (La decima vittima / The 10th Victim (1965) and La classe operaia va in paradiso / Lulu the Tool (1971)).
DVD
Blu-ray (Criterion Collection). A completely different layout, with titles set in Arial (a font published in 1982, 12 years AFTER this film came out)

Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto / Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970)

Directed by: 
Elio Petri
Starring: 
Gian Maria Volonté, Florinda Bolkan, Gianni Santuccio, Orazio Orlando
Country: 
Italy
DVD
Blu-ray (Studio Canal, France)

Le Sauvage (1975)

Directed by: 
Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Starring: 
Yves Montand, Catherine Deneuve, Luigi Vannucchi, Tony Roberts
Country: 
France
DVD, HD stream
Blu-ray (Studio Canal, Region-B)

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Directed by: 
Sidney Lumet
Starring: 
Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery
Country: 
USA
DVD (Warner Bros.). The only version with lowercase letters.
DVD (Warner Bros.)
Blu-ray (Warner Bros.)

Deliverance (1972)

Directed by: 
John Boorman
Starring: 
Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox
Country: 
Italy, France
DVD. Titles set in Helvetica.
Blu-ray (Artificial Eye, Region-B) Titles set in Arial (a typeface published in 1982, 10 years AFTER this film came out).

Une belle fille comme moi (1972)

Directed by: 
François Truffaut
Starring: 
Bernadette Lafont, Claude Brasseur, Charles Denner, Guy Marchand
Country: 
France
Fake titles mentioning the 1996 restoration, set in Optima
Blu-ray (Criterion Collection + Arte Video/Sony Pictures). Opening credits set in a squooshed version of Arial. The credits appear much later compared to the DVD, hence the ‘blank’ first still.

Les demoiselles de Rochefort (1967)

Directed by: 
Jacques Demy
Starring: 
Catherine Deneuve, George Chakiris, Françoise Dorléac, Michel Piccoli
Country: 
France
DVD
Blu-ray (IVC)

Le Bonheur (1965)

Directed by: 
Agnès Varda
Starring: 
Jean-Claude Drouot, Claire Drouot, Olivier Drouot, Sandrine Drouot, Marie-France Boyer
Country: 
France
DVD (Criterion Collection)
Blu-ray (IVC)

Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962)

Directed by: 
Agnès Varda
Starring: 
Corinne Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dominique Davray,Dorothée Blanck, Michel Legrand
Country: 
France
DVD (Criterion Collection)
Blu-ray (Gaumont)

Le Plaisir (1952)

Directed by: 
Max Ophüls
Starring: 
Claude Dauphin, Jean Galland, Gaby Morlay, Danielle Darrieux, Jean Gabin
Country: 
France
DVD
Blu-ray (Studio Canal)

Don Camillo (1952)

Directed by: 
Julien Duvivier
Starring: 
Fernandel, Gino Cervi, Vera Talchi, Franco Interlenghi
Country: 
Italy, France
DVD 1990 re-release version. (No RKO logo, “Color By Technicolor”)
Blu-ray. (RKO logo, “In Technicolor”)

FANTASIA (1940)

Directed by: 
Norman Ferguson, James Algar
Starring: 
Leopold Stokowski, Walt Disney, Deems Taylor, James MacDonald
Country: 
USA
Blu-ray (Criterion Collection). All titles from the first reel are considered lost. The opening and closing credits are fake (possibly a modified French print).

Lonesome (1928)

Directed by: 
Pál Fejös
Starring: 
Barbara Kent, Glenn Tryon, Fay Holderness, Gusztáv Pártos
Country: 
USA