What shall we do when there are no more silent Hitchcocks? Actually, I’m rather looking forward to opening up Intertitle of the Week to some of the stylish and crazy title cards I’ve discovered outwith Hitch’s canon. Meanwhile ~
A first for Shadowplay, I think — an intertitle with a footnote.
This was actually pretty common practice back in the day, with INTOLERANCE being a key text. Griffith was anxious to impress upon his viewers the historical accuracy of what they were seeing (it’s generally not very accurate at all, of course) so copious footnotes explain how his images have been researched. Here, part of THE MANXMAN’s appeal is its local flavour, so rather than simply replacing “deemster” with plain English, the island terminology is used to add authenticity and an exotic flavour to the procedings.
This intertitle’s main purpose, however, is to set a new scene. In this, it draws upon the tradition of the theatre programme, and actually survives in modern cinema in the form of superimposed titles that say things like “Paris, France,” or “Five Years Later”. The intertitle was a hardy beast, not easily slain by the arrival of sound — I shall be alert to its appearance in Hitch’s early talkies…