EMI Films

By Sean Beard

Background: This company was the former Associated British Corporation (best known for producing "The Avengers"). Associated British went bankrupt in 1968 and its assets (Associated British Film Distributors, Elstree Studios, the ABC Cinemas movie theater chain and Thames Television) were purchased by EMI Records. EMI bought British Lion Films in 1976, folding it into the company.

EMI Film Distributors Limited
1st Logo

Nickname: "Black Monument", "The Black Tombstone"

Logo:On a black screen, we see the company name stacked Fox-like in a "chiseled" font, not unlike that carved into monuments, positioned near the upper-right of the screen. The placement is like this:
EMI (in large letters)
FILM (im smaller letters)
DISTRIBUTORS LIMITED (in very small letters)

Variation: On a few films, we see on the same black background this text centered in the middle of the screen: NAT COHEN PRESENTS FOR EMI FILM DISTRIBUTORS. Movies with this version end with the text A NAT COHEN PRESENTATION FOR EMI FILM DISTRIBUTORS. The text is a variant of the font used for the standard logo.

SFX: None, apart from the name fading onto the screen

Cheesy Factor: The monument plaque-style font used

Music: None

Availability: Not widely seen in the US due to replacement with American distributors' logos. Was discovered on the mid-1990s Republic Pictures Home Video release of Hammer Films' "Scars of Dracula". The Nat Levine variant was found on the Showtime Networks print of the Roger Corman sex comedy "Candy Stripe Nurses" (apparently an UK print was used).

Scare Factor: Median, due to the lettering being similar to that carved onto tombstones , but has lower levels for the Nat Cohen version due to the smaller font used.

2nd Logo

Nickname: "Blue EMI"

Logo: On a blue screen, we see the letters EMI (in the familiar logo's font) zoom toward the center of the screen. As the letters move, the box draws itself into place forming the familiar EMI logo. The phrase EMI FILM DISTRIBUTORS then fades into place.

In later years, the byline A MEMBER OF THE THORN GROUP along with the Thorn logo appears instead of the company name (EMI merged with Thorn plc around 1979, hence the name and logo described below). On some films, this was superimposed onto the film's opening credit sequence.

SFX: The EMI lettering zoom-in, the rectangle drawing itself in

Cheesy Factor: Rather simple animation, even for the 1970s.

Music: None, except as explained below.

Avaliability: Rare/Scarce-Check your local home video stores for older VHS releases of the company's films.

Scare Factor: TBA

EMI Films,Inc.

Nicknames: "Blue EMI","The Record Dudes"

Background: EMI opened an American subsidiary of EMI Film Distributors in 1977, with a television division (EMI Television Productions) and its own distribution unit. In 1979, the distribution unit was closed and they went through ITC's Associated Film Distribution unit for its theatrical releases. The company's final films (The Deer Hunter, Bad Boys and The Philadelphia Experiment) were released through Universal* and Paramount before it was closed down.
(*EMI and Universal co-produced The Deer Hunter.)

Logo: In the opening scene of a movie, a superimposed EMI logo appears just like its British counterpart, except that the legend EMI FILMS,INC. appears under it. "PRESENTS" is also below everything else.


SFX: The same as the second EMI Film Distributors logo; also appeared as a still image on later films

Cheesy Factor: Same as its British counterpart

Music: The the movie's opening score

Availiability: Rare-given the rather low output of its US branch, but this logo is an easier find than the British counterpart. It is retained on Convoy, The Jazz Singer (1980) and Can't Stop The Music among others
(having been used as an in-credit logo in the States).

Scare Factor: Relatively harmless, given American audiences' familiarity with the logo (via the EMI-America record label and the parent company's ownership of Capitol Records). However, some might be mildly frightened by the animated version.

EMI Television Productions,Inc.

Logo: As the closing credits finish, the credit A ROGER GIMBEL PRODUCTION FOR appears on the screen in a rounded blocky font, arranged in a semi-circular stack seen like this:

[Note:"A" and "FOR" appear in smaller print,while Gimbel's name appears in larger print.]
Then this fades and the EMI logo appears just like its British theatrical counterpart except that here the phrase EMI TELEVISION PRODUCTIONS,INC. is seen under the logo. Both the Gimbel credit and EMI logo are superimposed over the end-credit montage.

SFX: The same animation as the EMI Film Distributors logo.

Cheesy Factor: Gimbel's credit popping onto the screen in that big font.

Music: The outro of the theme music.

Availability: Rare-retained on its productions where aired (often followed by the Viacom V of Doom on most still-circulating prints).
[Among the notable TV movies it produced were Dead Man's Curve and The Legend of Walks Far Woman.]
Scare Factor: Minimal to High because of the Gimbel credit appearing in very large letters for the first part and the EMI logo animation in the second. The large font seen on-screen may startle some but familiarity with EMI's logo from record labels and Capitol Records'album covers tempers this quite a bit.

Thorn EMI Film Distributors/Screen Entertainment

An explanation here: EMI merged with Thorn plc, an electronics, electrical and heavy equipment manufacturer and rental store franchise operator, in 1979. The company and its library were sold to Cannon Films in 1986. The film library was subseqently sold to Weintraub and Lumiére Picutres before the latter company was bought by Canal+ in 1996. Elstree Studios is now owned by the BBC.

Thorn EMI "demerged" back into two separate companies in 1996.

Logo: On the same blue background as its predecessor, a white box containing an inverted stylized "T" (which resembles a thumbtack) zooms in towards the audience. As it moves into place, we see a smaller rectangular section under the Thorn "T" that reads THORN EMI. The box completes its journey and we see the logo of Thorn-EMI and then the sequence fades out.

SFX: The warp-speed zoom-in.

Cheesy Factor: The rather tacky (excuse the crummy pun) look of the logo.

Music: None-this is a silent logo.

[Note:This logo is famiiar to Britons because of Thorn brand light bulbs (the logo only has THORN in the space where the Thorn EMI name would be) and electrical appliances.]

Availiability: Extinct, due to the ownership shifts explained above. This was plastered over the previous EMI Film Distributors and Associated British IDs on most library prints it issued to the US market. You would have to search for EMI Film Distributors library titles issued by Thorn EMI Video during the 1980s or off-air videotapes of any EMI-owned movie. Otherwise, you'd better expect the StudioCanal logo on current prints.

Scare Factor: A little on the high side for those who fear objects suddenly coming forward at high speed but once again harmess for most viewers.