Janus Films

From Audiovisual Identity Database

Credits
Descriptions by
codyfinke

Captures by
Eric S.

Editions by
Eric S.

Video captures courtesy of
Movie Related Logos

Background

Janus Films is one of the first film distributors to bring what are now regarded as masterpieces of world cinema to mainstream American audiences and can be credited with helping to introduce Americans to the work of Ingmar Bergman, François Truffaut, Jean-Pierre Melville, Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini and Akira Kurosawa among other well-regarded directors. It was founded in 1956 by Bryant Halliday (an actor who appeared in films such as Devil Doll and Tower of Evil) and Cyrus Harvey, Jr., who ran the 55th Street Playhouse in New York City and used it as a primary location for exhibiting Janus-distributed films. Haliday later purchased the historic Brattle Theater, a landmark in the Harvard Square section of Cambridge, MA, and converted it into an art film moviehouse in the mid-1950s. In 1966, Haliday sold the Brattle (which he continued to manage well into the 1970s), as well as Janus Films to Saul J. Turell and William Becker. Their sons, Jonathan B. Turell and Peter Becker, who own The Criterion Collection, are presently managing the company (http://www.janusfilms.com), which is still active in the art-house cinema world.



1st Logo (1956?-)

Logo: On a black background, we see a white coin with Janus' head inside it, appearing to be a sketch of some kind. The text "JANUS FILMS" appears next to it.

Variants:

  • Until 1975, the words "A" and "RELEASE" may be seen above and below the text respectively.
  • Another variant used at the start of old films around 1967 has the logo smaller and on a gray background, with "PRESENTS" under the "FILMS" text.
  • The above variant may also read "A JANUS FILMS RELEASE".

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: None or the start of the movie.

Availability: Very common. Appears on films licensed by Janus Films, including American prints of many Rank Organisation films and those of the above-named directors, as well as post-2015 American prints of Watership Down. On releases from The Criterion Collection, this logo always follows the former logo. The older variant appeared on early Criterion DVD releases and also at the start of Film Odyssey presentations on PBS in 1972.

Legacy: Having been in use mostly unchanged for 66 years, this is a strong contender for the longest running logo of all time, although this is disputed.

2nd Logo (1956-1970)

Logo: On a black background, the same Janus coin from before is seen, but inverted. Below is "THE END" in a wide serif font, and "A JANUS FILMS RELEASE" below that in a different sans font.

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: None or the end of the movie.

Availability: Extremely rare. This was used early on as a closing logo for Janus Films releases. Seen at the end of the Key Video release of Jules and Jim.


3rd Logo (November 18, 1970-1984)

Logo: On a blue stone-like background, we see the standard logo in yellow. The text:

A JANUS FILMS
PRESENTATION

appears next to the Janus. This is positioned at the bottom right corner.

Variants:

  • A greyscale variant exists.
  • There is another version of this logo, and next to the Janus reads:

FROM THE
JANUS FILM
COLLECTION

  • On a TCM airing of Odd Man Out, the logo has a differently textured background, an inverted Janus coin, and the text in a different font and capitalization method and is centered.
  • On a 1976 WTTW airing of Nosferatu, the logo reads "JANUS FILMS" in the standard font, with "TELEVISION PRESENTATION" below in a serif font. This variant uses a plain blue background.

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Once again, this can be seen on Rank Organization films as well as foreign-language movies distributed by the company during the 1970's. It also appears on the Embassy Home Entertainment VHS release of The Red Balloon. One of its first appearances was on the 1970 reissue of Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast. It plastered the previous logo on the 1973 reissue of The Seventh Seal. It also appears on the CBS/Fox Video release of Grand Illusion. It also appears on a Sony Movies Classic (now GREAT! Movies Classic) airing of Tunes of Glory which was not a Rank release.

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.