Wednesday, 29 June 2011


'AN RKO RADIO PICTURE', how I loved to see that message at the start of a movie, accompanied by the Morse code and expanding radio transmissions, or the silky art deco version or the plethora of subtle variations on the theme. I'm not going to go into a history or story of the company, just talk about how much I loved the movies they made. This was a label not as glamorous as MGM, not as gritty as Warner Brothers, not as famous as Paramount or 20th Century Fox but when one looks at some of the films associated with RKO there are an incredible amount of seminal and notable films.
Including two of the most famous movies ever released King Kong and Citizen Kane
King Kong
Cimmaron-The first western to win the Academy award for best picture
King Kong-one of the most iconic movies of all time
Top Hat- a classic Hollywood musical
Bringing up Baby-the benchmark of screwball comedy
Room Service-Classic Marx Brothers
The Hunchback of Notre Dame-yet to be bettered
Stranger on the Third Floor-Widely recognised as the first true Film Noir
Suspicion and Notorious-Hitchcock on great form
Cat People and I walked with a Zombie-seminal horror/Noir
Out of The Past and They live by night-Noir milestones
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon-integral to the Western movie cannon
Citizen Kane
As distributor RKO bought us such genuine classics as
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Bambi and Dumbo, Citizen Kane,The Best Years of our lives, It's a Wonderful life and Rashomon
the best years of our lives
RKO movies had a certain feel, they were generally not too long and often featured Hollywood outsiders.It was in existense in it's full form mfor just thirty years which makes the list of movies all the more impressive.
Kings of the B movie, Champions of Film Noir, Art Deco dance masters, RKO was a great Company and I can remember settling into my chair at the sight of those three letters knowing I was in for a a movie that would be many things but always watchable.
Room Service
As Orson Welles said when commenting on the RKO design as his "favorite among the old logos, not just because it was so often a reliable portent. ... It reminds us to listen."
bringing up Baby

1 comment:

  1. True the RKO logo is one of the most iconic and always causes my heart to race a little when I see and hear it because there's usually gonna be something good to follow. Orson was right.

    And STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR is definitely the first noir in my book!


having said that;