J. Arthur Rank Organisation

Written and Compiled by Nicholas Aczel and Sean Beard


Background: The company was founded in 1938 by producer Joseph Arthur Rank as General Film Distributors, but it would wait until the name change to J. Arthur Rank Organisation in 1944 that it got a proper logo. Rank still exists today as The Rank Group plc (www.rankgroup.com), a hotel, resort, and casino operator (the Hard Rock Café is among its properties).

Nicknames: "Gong," “Man Hitting Gong,” “Gongman”

Logo: On a backdrop of draped red curtains, we see a shirtless man, hitting a large gong twice with his mallet. As this happens, we zoom up to the gong, and the words “J. ARTHUR RANK PRESENTS” in a long bold font fade in on the gong.

Variations: The Rank logo has had many renditions over the years. Here are some of them:

1944-1955: “J. ARTHUR RANK PRESENTS.” This one has been nicknamed the “Golden Age Version.”

1955-1997: “THE J. ARTHUR RANK ORGANISATION presents” or simply “THE RANK ORGANISATION presents.” The words are seen in a stylized font. In 1957 this logo was refilmed with a different man hitting the gong.

1970-1982: “THE RANK ORGANISATION” is seen in a boxy font.

1982-1997: On films distributed by Rank, the words “RANK FILM DISTRIBUTORS present” are seen over the logo in the 1970s logo font. The logo is reframed to make it appear as if it is now a close-up shot, and the Gongman is seen repeatedly striking the gong (the footage is looped here).

SFX: Mainly live action, but on the Golden Age Version, the words appear via a “wipe” effect.

Cheesy Factor: The words appearing over the “live action” logo.

Music: The two “hits” of the gong.

Availability: The Rank Organisation film backlog was sold to Carlton Television in 1997. Carlton originally deleted the logo from its prints, but now it is steadily reappearing on recently remastered TV prints and home video releases. Among the many Rank movies include the classics Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1948), The Red Shoes (1948), Ladykillers (1955), and The Ipcress File (1965), and the 1980s distribution variant can be seen on Transformers: The Movie (1986).

Scare Factor: Median, one of the most famous British logos of all time, but it is understandable that some may be bothered by the loud gong sounds and/or the dark environment.