The famous MGM logo and its fetish lion that roars (with pleasure, of course), Paramount, Columbia Pictures and the woman with the torch reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty, Warner Bros and its logo in the shape of a shield … You have most certainly already seen the logos of these studios. But do you know the little story behind these creations?
You must have seen them, and for good reason: they are always placed before the films, whether you discover them in the theater, or at the back of your sofa, in front of a good DVD / Blu-ray session in your small Home Cinema. Who, “they”? They are the logos of film studios, authentic icons of their venerable owners. What would the Metro Goldwyn Mayer without his roaring lion?
After DreamWorks SKG mentioned last time, make way for the Made in icon Columbia Pictures, his famous wife carrying a torch, which is obviously reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty, the absolute embodiment of America.
Columbia Pictures and the Torchbearer
One of the oldest majors in the Hollywood landscape, Columbia Pictures was founded in 1919 by two brothers, Harry and Jack Cohn, as well as a third partner: Joe Brandt. In fact, at first, his name was Cohn-Brandt-Cohn Film Sales. At the start of the adventure, there were many productions with a low or even very low budget, to the point that the company soon received the nickname of Corned Beef and Cabbage, or CBC. Initials of the three partners of course, but above all which literally means “canned beef and cabbage”.
In 1924, the stormy relations between the two Cohn brothers push Brandt to sell his shares to Harry, who decides to change the name of the company in order to improve its image: thus born the Columbia Pictures Corporation.
Claudia Dell, who would have been according to Bette Davis the first incarnation of “Columbia”.
The studio logo is “Columbia”, the very personification of America, walking on the flowerbeds of the Statue of Liberty which guards the entrance to New York Harbor. Although the company logo was created in 1924 and identified as “the woman with the torch”, the identity of the model / actress who served as the model could never be established with certainty; especially since more than a dozen women claimed to have served as models.
In his autobiography written in 1962, The Lonely Life, the actress Bette Davis asserts that the model in question was a certain Claudia Dell, a starlet from Texas who passed through the Broadway music scene. In 1987, People Magazine evokes the name of a certain Amelia Batchler, model, who posed for the logo in 1933. In 2001, the Chicago Sun Times he also looks into the question, to come to the conclusion that it is rather a certain Jane Bartholomew, who then rounded off her end of the month by making extras in the films of Columbia. Considering the many variations of the logo over the years, one can actually assume that all the names given are valid.
Above, The logo as it appears in 1934 in front of the New York-Miami movie. “Columbia” appears with a black headdress, half dressed with the American flag. Unlike later versions, neither the bottom of its feet nor the pedestal appear. In fact, it mostly brings to mind an Americanized version of Cleopatra.
Above, “Columbia” version 1939, which opens the movie Mr. Smith in the Senate. A more refined version than the first, reminiscent of Greek mythology and its gods. While in the 1934 version, “Columbia” stares at the viewer, it gazes into the distance in the 1939 version. Also misses the word “Production”, only to display “Columbia”.
1993, the rebirth of “Columbia”
Between 1941 and the very beginning of the 1990s, the logo underwent numerous modifications. Some are purely cosmetic, such as the folds of the “Columbia” dress. Others being much more questionable as in 1976, when the studio made purely and simply disappear “Columbia”, in favor of a simple radiation supposed to represent that of the torch. We leave it to you to admire this change (this heresy?) Below …
In 1989, the studio Columbia Pictures is bought by Sony Pictures Entertainment. They want to return to a classic version of the logo. In 1993, the studio commissioned illustrator Michael J. Deas to work on the new version. He then went to Mandeville, Louisiana, to conduct tests to find the one who would take the immortal pose. It is finally a young woman of 28, named Jenny Joseph, who is retained.
Painter-muralist, it is the first -and last- that she lends herself to the exercise. In the final version of the logo, however, Deas did not put the model’s face. This is a Composite creation, made from the face of Jenny Joseph. It is, even today, still the same model. The result can be seen below.
As with the competitors, the logo of Columbia Pictures gives itself from time to time a nice little facelift for the release of a film. Selected songs below.
That of Angels and Demons:
That of Charlie and his funny ladies:
For Casino Royale, the logo changes to black and white:
The logo for the release of Da Vinci Code:
Below, a variation for the release of The Grudge 2. Very creepy!
Flash / neuro-laser sequence for the output of MIIB:
We end our selection with a little nugget. The delirious (and daring !!) version of a 1959 film, The Roaring Mouse. Or how “Columbia” becomes a sexy Pin-Up: