This is 15 minutes well-spent, a brief history of film trailers.
Going in before watching, here are the trends I’ve been noticing:
- When exactly did the “In a world…” voiceover become verboten?
- Have you ever foreign-language film trailers always avoid dialog?
- Comedies use pop song cues, medium-sized action movies use sound design cues, but the biggest tentpoles still go the massive-orchestra-plus-choir route.
As it turns out, this Vimeo video doesn’t address any of those questions, but it’s still fun viewing. The best part is seeing the trailers themselves, so skip ahead to around 5:30 when the talk turns to Casablanca. And don’t miss Alfred Hitchcock’s direct pitch to the camera for Psycho (I should like to see Disney make a Star Wars VII trailer like that one).
UPDATE: Here’s another good trailer history roundup focusing on the predominance of SFX “money shots” in trailers, with Independence Day, Star Wars, Top Gun, Spider-Man, and more.