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Logo descriptions by codyfinke, Eric S., Supermarty-o, V of Doom, and Shadeed A. Kelly
Logo captures by V of Doom and Eric S.
Editions by thehugetvfan Video captures courtesy of EnormousRat, LogicSmash, and TheRedBaron1985

Background

PolyGram Pictures was the movie division of the PolyGram Records label, formed in 1979 by Jon Peters and Peter Guber (who would later head The Guber-Peters Company [later sold to Sony Corporation in 1989] and Guber to head Mandalay Entertainment in 1995). However, it was closed down in 1983, only to be reactivated in 1986 as "PolyGram Filmed Entertainment". The reorganized film unit was based in England and became a European competitor to Hollywood. In 1998, PolyGram was acquired by Seagram & Sons and operated until 1999 when it was shut down and folded into Universal Studios. In 1999, Seagram & Sons sold most of the pre-1996 library to MGM that was incorporated into the Orion library. Today, most of the pre-1996 PolyGram film library is owned by MGM, while Universal owns the rights to some pre-1996 films (Backbeat, Before the Rain, Hate (La Haine], The Jacksons: An American Dream, Cold Blooded, Deadly Blessing, Missing, and An American Werewolf in London only; the latter two which Universal released theatrically) and the rest of PolyGram's films until its disestablishment.


1st Logo
(1980-1981)

Nicknames: "Rainbow PolyGram", "PolyRainbow"

Logo: On a background of redorange, and yellow stripes, we see the words "POLYGRAM" in a "Prisma" like font near the middle of the screen.

FX/SFX: None.

Cheesy Factor: The colors used are very '70s.

Music/Sounds: Usually none or the opening theme of the film.

Availability: Very rare. Appears on Snake Eyes, Morning Report, and the 1982 MCA Videocassette VHS release of The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper.

Scary Factor: Minimal.


2nd Logo
(1981-1983)

Nicknames: "The Red Stars", "Rollercoaster", "PolyCoaster", "A Fountain of Red Stars"

Logo: On a black background, we see red stars going up, which then go down describing a curve (a la the Telepictures "Rollercoaster" logo), revealing the text:

PolyGram Pictures

The stars then are in a line under the name.

Variant:

  • An early variant features the stars and name wiping, without any animation at all.
  • On An American Werewolf in London, the logo cuts to black instead of fading to black at the end.

FX/SFX: The stars forming the name. Pure Scanimate effects.

Music/Sounds: Usually none or the opening theme of the film.

Availability: Appears on An American Werewolf in London and King of the Mountain. This was recently spotted on the Shout! Factory DVD and Blu-Ray of Deadly Blessing after the 1976 United Artists logo.

Scare Factor: Low.

PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

Background: In 1986, PolyGram Pictures was relaunced as "PolyGram Filmed Entertainment". The reorganized film unit was based in England and became a European competitor to Hollywood. However, they didn't enter full US distribution or used a logo until 1992. Prior to that, PolyGram often used other US distributors for their some of their films such as The Samuel Goldwyn Company (Wild at Heart and Fear, Anxiety & Depression) and New Line Cinema (Drop Dead Fred, Fools of Fortune and Chicago Joe and the Showgirl). Between 1990 and 1995, PolyGram would aquire severial production companies such as Working Title Films, Propaganda Films, Interscope Communications, Island Pictures and ITC Entertainment. They also formed 2 other labels as well: Gramercy Pictures in 1992 (which was launched as a joint venture between PolyGram and Universal Pictures. It also acted as an art house label for Universal and a US distributor for PolyGram) and Rogue Pictures in 1997 (which was launched as a low budget label for PolyGram). In 1998, PolyGram was acquired by Seagram & Sons and operated until 1999 when it was shut down and folded into Universal Studios. In 1999, Seagram & Sons sold most of the pre-March 31, 1996 library to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and it was incorporated into their Orion Pictures library. Currently, most of the pre-March 31, 1996 PolyGram film library is owned by MGM (with the exception of Drop Dead Fred which LIVE/Artisan Entertainment originally handled the video rights to.) while Universal owns the rights to some pre-March 31, 1996 films (Backbeat, Before the Rain, Hate (also known as La Haine), The Jacksons: An American Dream, Drop Dead Fred (in the UK only) and Cold Blooded) and the rest of PolyGram's films until its disestablishment.


1st Logo (In-credit logo)
(1990?-1992)

Logo: Just in-credit text saying "PolyGram Presents" or "A PolyGram Production"

FX/SFX: None.

Music/Sounds: None or the opening theme of the film.

Avaliability: Seen on most PolyGram financed movies during this era such as Drop Dead Fred (which was released in the US by New Line Cinema) and David Lynch's Wild at Heart (which was released in the US by The Samuel Goldwyn Company).

Scare Factor: None.


2nd Logo (1st official logo)
(1992-1997)

Nicknames: "The Drawing Red Line", "PolyLine"

Logo: On a black background, "PolyGram" appears. Then "FILMED ENTERTAINMENT" appears under the name. A red line is drawn between "PolyGram" and "FILMED ENTERTAINMENT", which causes a red flash after it stops drawing, then it shines once.

Variants:

  • There is an earlier version where the background is white, the words are already faded in, and the line is light blue.
  • On some movies, FILM DISTRIBUTION replaces FILMED ENTERTAINMENT. This can be spotted on the 1998 film, Le Clone.
  • There is a scope variant where the logo is cropped from 1.85 to 2.35 to fit the aspect ratio. This can be spotted on Moonlight and Valentino, French Kiss (which was a co-production with 20th Century Fox) and the theatrical trailers for The Game.

FX/SFX: The "drawing red line" effect.

Cheesy Factor: Quite boring. The earlier version also was obviously inverted to change the color scheme.

Music/Sounds: Usually none or the opening theme of the film.

Music/Sounds Variant: The 1999 Universal Studios Home Entertainment United Kingdom DVD of Twelve Monkeys uses the last half of the fanfare from the 1990 Universal logo, due to an editing mistake.

Availability: Uncommon. Found on most 1993-1997 PolyGram films, most notably Posse, Romeo is Bleeding, Jason's Lyric, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Dead Man Walking, Kalifornia (1997 PolyGram Video DVD and 2000 MGM DVD only; the original VHS and newer prints have this removed), A Gnome Named Gnorm (VHS only, plastered by the 2005-2013 Lionsgate logo on current prints), Fargo, The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (not the original VHS, however), and Bean among others. Also seen on UK trailers for PolyGram films, some which can be found on VHS releases in the United States by PolyGram Video. Appears on the UK VHS release of The Usual Suspects. Don't expect it to appear on Shallow Grave, the Burton and Schumacher Batman movies, and The Matchmaker. On newer prints of post-1996, and a couple of pre-1996 films, this is plastered with the then-current Universal logo. Strangely, this is seen on current prints of The Borrowers when seen on Disney XD, Discovery Family, and Netflix. The inverted variant can be seen on The Jacksons: An American Dream on TV One, VH1, and VH1 Classic, although it's plastered by the short 1997 Universal logo on BET and Centric broadcasts and on DVD.

Scare Factor: Minimal.

3rd Logo (2nd official logo)
(1997-1999, February 18, 2000)

Nicknames: "PolyGram Winged Man", "Icarus", "The Crystal Wingman"

Logo: On a ominously-dark cloudy sky-scape, we see a transparent, crystallized winged man standing against some mountains. The camera pans outward as he jumps up and remains in the air, as his wings move back and forth. The camera pans to his left as he freezes in the air, where several white streaks appear across his body. The silver word "POLYGRAM" flies under the man and centers in place as he flashes white all over and becomes still. "FILMED ENTERTAINMENT" (or "FILMS") appears under "POLYGRAM", and everything shines.

Trivia: This logo was designed by Michael J. Deas, the same individual who painted and designed the 1992 Columbia Pictures and 1993 Merv Griffin Enterprises logos. The winged man is based off of Icarus, the man from the Greek fable who constructed a set of wax wings and tried to fly to the sun before falling in the sea.

Variants:

  • An earlier version of the logo exists, where it was just the Icarus and the word "POLYGRAM" in a stylistic font. Then either "FILMS" or "FILMED ENTERTAINMENT" in a smaller font fades in.
  • Some direct-to-video releases, such as Cats, refer to the company as "POLYGRAM VISUAL PROGRAMMING".


FX/SFX: The winged man moving, the letters appearing. This is very good animation for 1997; the animation remains beautiful after 18 years and it uses shining impressively without coming off as gaudy.

Music/Sounds: None or the opening theme of the film.

Availability: Very rare. This has been plastered with the 1997 Universal logo on Special Edition DVDs, Blu-Rays, and most TV airings shortly after Universal's acquisition of PolyGram. Can be found on PolyGram Video VHS/DVD releases of films such as The Big Lebowski, Elizabeth, Clay Pigeons, The Borrowers, The Last Days of Disco, and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, among others. The earlier version with "FILMS" can be seen on The Game, a teaser trailer for The Borrowers, and a trailer for Barney's Great Adventure that can be found on the Lyrick Studios VHS of Barney: It's Time for Counting!. The "FILMED ENTERTAINMENT" variant of the first version can be seen on the UK trailer for The Game and the theatrical trailer for The Borrowers, the latter which can be found on some VHS prints of Bean. When Universal Studios Home Entertainment reissued PolyGram/USA Home Entertainment DVDs from 2002-2004, they rereleased the PolyGram manufactured discs in their original packaging, but edited out almost all references to said company on the cases. Was found intact on a 2008 Showtime airing of The Hi-Lo Country, and a Hulu print of Your Friends & Neighbors (along with their DVD and VHS releases). The "FILMS" variant was strangely seen on a TMC on Demand print of What Dreams May Come. This originally appeared on U.S theatrical prints of Pitch Black, before the Interscope Communications logo (which was at the time part of Polygram). However, all DVD/VHS releases and the Blu-ray have the 1997 Universal logo (while the Interscope Communications logo is left intact).However, it's also seen on Plunkett & MacLeane.

Scare Factor: Minimal to low. The dark sky and winged man might very well unsettle some viewers, as well as the freeze-frame and CGI effects used throughout, but this remains among one of the best CGI logos of recent years.

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