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Top 5 Director Trademarks

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

It’s been well-established that directors have certain signatures when it comes to their film-making styles. Whether it’s a specific shot, choice of genre or narrative technique, you only need to look through the filmography of directors such as Tarantino and Shyamalan to see the trends. With the upcoming release of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Glass, it’s fair to say that we’ll be seeing a lot more of these trademarks!

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#5: Wes Anderson
Trademark: Symmetrical Framing, Slow Motion

It’s simple, it’s central, it’s signature. Wes Anderson’s is a particular style, and very recognizable. The symmetrical technique is so his own, it’s usually possible to tell an Anderson movie within seconds of turning it on. If you need more, an emotional slow-motion ending is also almost certainly in the cards. When symmetry or slo-mo aren’t front-and-center, it’s probably a dead dog… or a cat… Anderson also has a fascination with killing off animals that appears quite hard to tame. But for now, he’s somewhat ironically placed mid-table, in fifth.

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#4: Frank Capra
Trademark: Jimmy the Raven

Whilst Anderson is killing animals, Frank Capra is bringing them very much to life. He was especially keen on one bird in particular, a Raven named Jimmy. The avian actor starred in “You Can’t Take it With You,” and every Capra movie thereafter. Often paired with a simplistic character, his most famous role came alongside the hapless Uncle Billy in “It’s a Wonderful Life” – he’s the brightest birdbrain in all of Hollywood!

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#3: Alfred Hitchcock
Trademark: Personal Cameos, Blondes

Alfred Hitchcock is, of course, best known for his directorial abilities… but he’s not bad as an extra either, making cameo appearances in 39 of his 52 films. Usually his part was inconsequential: he might be walking a dog in the background, or be a passenger on a train – but the delight is all in knowing he’s there! Navigating through the soft focus effects, cutthroat tension and trademark icy blonde leading ladies to locate the man who’s responsible for it all, is, appropriately, quite a thrill!

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#2: M. Night Shyamalan
Trademark: Twist Endings

Wow! Did you see that one coming?? Shyamalan usually favors supernatural stories, and he’s known as a serial twister. In 1999, “The Sixth Sense” established itself as the archetype for an unexpected ending – the moment when Bruce Willis realizes exactly what he is will be forever hard to beat. Shyamalan himself has tried, and mostly failed to duplicate that success – we just know now to expect the unexpected! When surprise is your signature, it gets very tricky…

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#1: Quentin Tarantino
Trademark: Tarantino’s Shared Universe

No one signatures their movies quite like this man! Tarantino cameos, he owns the “hood and trunk shot,” he fascinates over feet. Big Kahuna Burger is “tasty,” Red Apple Cigarettes are addictive, and Teriyaki Donuts are sweet enough for Marsellus Wallace! Tarantino knows that small details can set you apart! So, he takes genre movies, he rethinks them, and he litters them with personalized visual cues. It all comes together for some seriously cool cinema, and a place atop this podium!

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Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks for the Top 10 Plot Twists in Horror Movies.

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