A Moment of Confusion

Saul Bass has said that the title credits of a movie should set the "mood and the prime underlying core of the film’s story."  Thus, when I saw water shadows under the credits of Good Girls Go to Paris (1939), I was slightly confused.

Water and Paris...
To what are they alluding?  The Seine River? No. -Spoiler alert- the "good girl" never arrives in Paris. The whole thing takes place in the U.S.

Then it hit me. If you were a young lady in the U. S. in 1939, desperate to visit Paris - as Joan Blondell is in this movie- you hop on a ship. Water was definitely associated with this journey, as opposed to the commercial passenger planes that I had forgotten didn't yet exist for transatlantic flight.
By the time this film was released, many firsts in aviation had been made (including Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927) or were about to be made. However, commercial transatlantic flights were still in the distance and wouldn't be available until after World War II.

Thus, a Paris-bound traveler would take a ship... or swim or something. I had to think through all of this before I understood the water shadows on the credit sequence. Whereas others - especially the audience contemporary with the film- would have understood in an instance.

Ah, classic movies - familiar yet foreign, which makes them endlessly fascinating.


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"Java's Journey: A really fun, informative well-written blog that explores all of the things - and I mean all - I love about classic films."-- Flick Chick of A Person In The Dark Email: java-rush@hotmail.com


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