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What typeface is this 1935 movie screenshot using?
January 30, 2014 5:34 PM   Subscribe

This screen appears in the first sound film in the Irish language, Oidhche Sheanchais, filmed in 1935. A colleague of mine would like to identify the typeface used for the titles, and the online typeface-identifying sites have struck out. Can any MeFite identify it?
posted by Horace Rumpole to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Lettering used in the movie business was a world unto itself and often there's no exact counterpart in modern fonts. I'm one of those folks who identifies fonts for people, and I can tell you this letterform has not been revived anywhere I've seen.

However, there are typefaces in the same general mood. Your colleague could try using Bravura, for example, with open spacing like the sample.
posted by zadcat at 5:43 PM on January 30


Alfred Hitchcock got his start hand-illustrating title cards for silent films. It is quite likely that those letterforms are unique to that film.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:46 PM on January 30


Ms mumkin seconds that it's likely handlettering, but says that if you're looking for a modern digital typeface, it's Optima-like, save that Optima doesn't have single-story a's and g's (though a pro version may have single-story alternates).

What you're looking for is a flare serif, evoking the line of a reed or quill pen. You'd think a uncial face would do the trick, but at least at myfonts, they all seem to have too much calligraphic flair.

Depending on your application, Statut may be a good approximation—it feels like a uncially, period titlecard face—though it has a bit more personality. (n.b. you will need to enable stylistic alternates at myfont to see the single-story a and g in Statut)
posted by mumkin at 8:04 PM on January 30


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