I'm always reluctant to say that anything was "first," but the earliest
example I can think of of a film that left all its credits for the end,
save for the title itself, was none other than CITIZEN KANE. One person
this precedent made an impression upon was the film's co-editor, Robert
Wise. At least two of Wise's films as director have all their credits at
the end: WEST SIDE STORY (1961, which might make it the earliest post-KANE
example) and STAR! (1968), which also reprised KANE's newsreel structure:
Here the newsreel bears the title of the film itself.
THE GODFATHER opened with nothing but the title and is probably the film
that formally began the practice as a fashion. But earlier, Kubrick's
2001 and CLOCKWORK ORANGE open with nothing but the director's name and
the titles, with all credits at the end (and on 2001 these were among the
longest to that time, which is probably why Kubrick did it this way.
Also, like the two Wise films 2001 was a 60s roadshow, for which one
could purchase a printed program, making opening credits less necessary).
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
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