I still really love hearing studio-logo fanfare music — those brassy and boastful intro chords that always accompanied the openings of mainstream flicks until…oh, roughly the mid ’60s or thereabouts. These beginnings revved audiences before the film started, selling them an often fanciful notion that something momentous was about to happen — despite the sometimes dispiriting truth of the matter.
Logo fanfare reflected the old-fashioned carnival-barker instincts of studio chiefs. This was especially true for Warner Bros. features, for which film-score composers would always throw in a vigorious “tah-dah!” before beginning the main-title music. Even if the show in question was a middling so-so caper flick starring Frank Sinatra and his booze-sipping homies, the fanfare promised much, much more.
What I’m saying, boiled down, is that the studio fanfare music that begins Lewis Milestone‘s Ocean’s 11 (1960) is the most enjoyable part of the film, hands down.
The second most pleasurable part is arguably Saul Bass‘s casino-attitude title sequence. It”s a little slow by today’s standards, but you can feel the cocky mentality of late ’50s showbiz culture — the chickie-baby attitude of Sinatra wearing those awful orange sweaters as he lounged around with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. The mob guys who used to run things in Las Vegas would cater to their every whim, and there were always the broads to hand out back rubs and…uhm, whatever else.