"Les Parapluies de Cherbourg" titles?

mwebert's picture

OK. This is a rather big challenge, further complicated by the fact that I can't find a representative image online, but here goes...

I'm hoping someone can give me an exact match for the heavy sans serif typeface used in the original title sequence to Jacques Demy's film, "Les Parapluies de Cherbourg."

NOTE: This is /not/ the same face used in posters or packaging (whether vintage in the original French or translated later into English as "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg"). The title sequence may in fact be handlettered, but I suspect it is based upon some grotesk that we may all know. I haven't been able to get stills from the sequence into my system yet, but until then, here's a quick (albeit small) sample:

I hope someone will be familiar enough with this classic to help me (or will have the DVD in his/her collection).

Sorry if this is a stumper...

--Michael.

Norbert Florendo's picture

I remember the film fondly as I saw it at first release!
Michel LeGrand's score...

It looks similar in style to Antique Olive Nord, very popular face during those days.

Obviously pre-digital, so break out the ol' phototype specimen books.

mwebert's picture

I thought so, too, but there are some subtle differences - take a look at the thin arms of the "s." To my eyes, this face is much more refined than Antique Olive Nord: less cumbersome or clunky.

Do you agree?

--Michael.

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Michael Ebert -- graphic designer, jazz saxophonist, horror movie devotee
http://homepage.mac.com/mwebert
mwebert@mac.com
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Norbert Florendo's picture

Absolutely agree that it is NOT Antique Olive Nord.
I do remember samples in my photolettering books of a style that looks like a blend of Gill Sans Kayo and Antique Olive Nord.

mwebert's picture

Hmmmm... sounds like a potential hit. Any scans you can post would be greatly appreciated.

Obviously, I'm hoping for a digitized version, but a good photolettering sample might just be the inspiration I need to do it myself...

--Michael.

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// love what you do or do something else. //
Michael Ebert -- graphic designer, jazz saxophonist, horror movie devotee
http://homepage.mac.com/mwebert
mwebert@mac.com
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bowfinpw's picture

If you replace the 'a', a heavy weight of Frutiger is not a bad subsitute, or even Antique Olive itself (I know you picked Nord for the 'a'). Use the 'a' from Futura or Flyer.

- Mike Yanega

mwebert's picture

Yes... further research strongly suggests that it was based on the work of France's own Roger Excoffon (of Fonderie Olive and "Antique Olive" fame).

While this face is quite distinct from the Antique Olive family (and arguably superior), I just don't see a true digitization available anywhere at this time. I hope I'm wrong about that, so please correct me! :-)

--Michael.

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// love what you do or do something else. //
Michael Ebert -- graphic designer, jazz saxophonist, horror movie devotee
http://homepage.mac.com/mwebert
mwebert@mac.com
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david h's picture

> NOTE: This is /not/ the same face used in posters

You're not right.

And this is Antique olive Compact / Nord.

mwebert's picture

Close inspection I believe reveals some significant differences... Could the choking of the photolettering film process be the cause?

--Michael.

------------------------------------------------------
// love what you do or do something else. //
Michael Ebert -- graphic designer, jazz saxophonist, horror movie devotee
http://homepage.mac.com/mwebert
mwebert@mac.com
--------------

david h's picture

This is the American version (you can find 2 to 3 versions):

Another French one:

mwebert's picture

Thanks for posting those pics.

Definitely Antique Olive Nord in the bottom poster.

But I guess there's no modern digitization of the font used in the titles?

--Michael.

------------------------------------------------------
// love what you do or do something else. //
Michael Ebert -- graphic designer, jazz saxophonist, horror movie devotee
http://homepage.mac.com/mwebert
mwebert@mac.com
--------------

david h's picture

> Could the choking of the photolettering film process be the cause?

Maybe :) I'm not that old to remember the photolettering... :)

> Thanks for posting those pics.

You're welcome.

mwebert's picture

Just keeping this alive for a little longer... No other thoughts, right?

Thanks,
--Michael.

------------------------------------------------------
// love what you do or do something else. //
Michael Ebert -- graphic designer, jazz saxophonist, horror movie devotee
http://homepage.mac.com/mwebert
mwebert@mac.com
--------------

Norbert Florendo's picture

I couldn't find a reference on title credits for the original film other than Bernard Evein, Production Design/Art Director from IMBd database. If someone has the video or DVD, they could run through the credits.

IMHO -- Roger Excoffon was still very much alive and active during the production of the film in 1964, and I can't imagine the producers not "tipping the hat" to or not directly consulting someone as well known and respected in France as Mr. Excoffon.

That leads me to speculate that the film title may have been done from a modified version of Antique Olive (Nord), specifically customized for film, as it visually reads and repros differently from print. It was easy enough in those days to create a filmstrip font for a photo headliner machine, so a custom photo font for optical titling is my best guess.

It may also account for the variations in print titles and posters, as Mr. Excoffon (if he did it), or the person who actually designed it, had only one specific application using the only font created. If your sample of the film's title was the only occurence of that face, then I would say it could have been produced as a one-off by hand. But if the rest of the credits used the face, then it was produced as a customized filmstrip for a photo-headline device. That's my best guess.

mwebert's picture

Norbert, your assertions sound spot on.

The face is used throughout the opening credits... I think it's a custom photo-headline face that's Excoffon-inspired Antique-Olive-Nord-derivative.

--Michael.

------------------------------------------------------
// love what you do or do something else. //
Michael Ebert -- graphic designer, jazz saxophonist, horror movie devotee
http://homepage.mac.com/mwebert
mwebert@mac.com
--------------

mwebert's picture

Two screen captures that might help someone locate a closer digital version of this than Antique Olive Nord...

Anyone?

Thanks,
--Michael.

------------------------------------------------------
// love what you do or do something else. //
Michael Ebert -- graphic designer, jazz saxophonist, horror movie devotee
http://homepage.mac.com/mwebert
mwebert@mac.com
--------------

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