EMI Films

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


This company was the former Associated British Corporation (best known for producing The Avengers). Associated British went bankrupt in 1968 and its assets (Associated British Film Distributors, Elstree Studios, the ABC Cinemas movie theater chain and Thames Television) were purchased by EMI Records. They later bought Anglo-Amalgamated in 1971 and British Lion Films in 1976, the latter being folded it into the company. Also, EMI opened its American subsidiary in 1977, with a television division and its own distribution unit, but in 1979, the distribution unit was closed and they went through ITC's Associated Film Distribution unit for its theatrical releases. Currently, the rights to most of their films are with StudioCanal, with a few later films from after the Thorn merger being owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer through Cannon Films.

1st Logo (Summer 1970)

Visuals: On a black background, there are multiple rectangle outlines zoom forward bringing forth a blue rectangle. The text "EMI" in its corporate font appears. The text fades out and the screen zooms into the blue rectangle bringing forth either the 3rd Associated British Productions logo or the Anglo Amalgamated Film Distributors logo.

Technique: Motion-controlled animation.

Audio: None.

Availability: Can be found on earlier EMI films from 1970, such as those made by Associated British and Anglo Amalgamated. Strangely, it appears on the North American Cine Artists Pictures release of the 1977 film To the Devil a Daughter, issued on videocassette by Continental Video.

2nd Logo (September 1970-December 1971)

Visuals: Over a black background, the logo starts with the company name stacked in a "castellar" font, not unlike that carved into monuments, positioned near the upper-right of the screen. The placement is like this:



  • For produced movies, the word "PRODUCTIONS" appeared in place of "DISTRIBUTORS".
  • On Dulcima, the last known film to use this logo, this was superimposed over the opening shot.

Technique: A painting.

Audio: None, or the films opening music, for both variants.

Availability: It was discovered on the mid 1990s Republic Pictures Home Video release of Hammer Films' Scars of Dracula (it's also preserved on the original US Thorn EMI Video release of the same, surprisingly enough). It can also be seen on Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, The Railway Children, and the unreleased feature The Breaking of Bumbo.

3rd Logo (March 11, 1971-December 26, 1973)

Visuals: Over a black background, the logo starts with the blue word "EMI" zoom out. The word fades out as red and blue lines come from the top of screen to form a spinning film reel. The camera zooms on the red reel and letters spin around it quickly and fly from it which say "NAT COHEN" in a computerized font, then some letters fly in from the top of the screen to the right to form "PRESENTS FOR ANGLO-EMI FILM DISTRIBUTORS LTD." below "NAT COHEN" in the same computerized font, letters on the reel disappears when it's almost formed.

Variant: On Up Pompeii, a still logo with the words "NAT COHEN PRESENTS FOR Anglo-EMI Film Distributors Ltd." appears in orange with the byline "A member of the EMI Group" with the EMI logo in place of text. This is most likely a placeholder logo.

Technique: Traditional animation.

Audio: None or the opening theme of the movie, but on Demons of the Mind, it uses a dramatic custom fanfare composed by Harry Robinson, starts off with a 4-note trumpet theme, then a flute theme, which is followed by a repeated 4-note orchestral theme with another trumpet fanfare that comes later. Finishing off is a suspenseful orchestral note. Up the Front has several gunshot sounds synced up to the animation.

Availability: After the Up Pompeii variant's sole appearance, it wouldn't start appearing regularly until Family Life, released on December 2, 1971. It can be seen on films such as the Thorn EMI releases of the Hammer production Demons of the Mind. The Up Pompeii variant is usually plastered with the 2000 StudioCanal logo.

4th Logo (August 29, 1974-July 31, 1977)

Visuals: Over a blue background, the logo starts with several textured golden letters, in a fancy font, flying all across the screen. In the center, three letters spell out "EMI" in an extreme close-up. After a while, the letters pan back to the middle of the screen, and merge to form the centered text "NAT COHEN PRESENTS FOR EMI FILM DISTRIBUTORS LTD.".


  • A black-background variant exists.
  • On the 1999 Cinema Club UK VHS release of Murder on the Orient Express, the logo is shown in 4:3 "open matte" aspect ratio, this time with the big flying letters move out intact, sourced from full-screen prints.

Technique: Motion-controlled animation.

Audio: Usually it's silent, but some films like Are You Being Served? use a bombastic horn fanfare with a glockenspiel section.

Availability: Appeared on Are You Being Served? (the movie, not the TV show) and a Showtime Networks print of the Roger Corman sex comedy Candy Stripe Nurses (apparently a UK print was used). It was seen after the Paramount logo on Murder on the Orient Express, while the newer copies have the 2013 Universal Pictures and the 2011 StudioCanal logos. It may have been on older UK prints of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but none of the home media releases show any evidence. It also may have appeared on the UK theatrical release of Dougal and the Blue Cat, but current prints delete the logo. Its first known appearance was on Percy's Progress (the previous EMI feature, The Dove, did not use a logo), with its last known appearance on Sweeney!.

5th Logo (April 1978-1980)

Visuals: On a black screen, there are the letters "EMI" (in the familiar logo's font) zoom toward the center of the screen. As the letters move, the background turns into blue and a box zooms out itself into place forming the familiar EMI logo.


  • Sometimes, the logo is shown in 4:3 "open matte" format and exposes more vertical space, therefore the EMI "rectangle" fills in a letterbox position.
  • For films shot in scope format, the logo is squashed or cropped depending on the film.
  • A later version exists with the Thorn EMI notice.

Technique: Motion-controlled animation.

Audio: Usually silent, or on rare occasions, the film's opening music. On international prints of Can't Stop the Music, the logo plasters the Associated Film Distribution logo, keeping the music from the logo intact.

Availability: The easiest place to find this is on International prints of The Driver (after the StudioCanal logo). The later version was used during 1980, as was allegedly seen on international prints of these movies, the US versions of these movies plaster with the Associated Film Distribution logo. Films that used the next logo, such as Convoy and The Deer Hunter, generally did not use this logo in international territories, a known exception being Can't Stop the Music.

6th Logo (1977-1983) (US)

Visuals: In the opening scene of a movie, a superimposed EMI logo appears just like its British counterpart, except that the legend EMI FILMS, INC. appears under it. "PRESENTS" is also below everything else.


  • In The Jazz Singer (the 1980 Neil Diamond version), the still EMI logo appears superimposed in the style of the opening credit sequence.
  • The notorious Village People movie Can't Stop The Music had the EMI logo appearing as if it was made of solid silver.
  • The Deer Hunter opened with the Universal Globe (on U.S. prints) followed by a white EMI Film Distributors ID. When "PRESENTS" fades in, the logo fades out to make room for it.

Technique: A printed image made using traditional ink-and-paint.

Audio: Usually silent, or on rare occasions, the film's opening music.

Availability: Given the rather low output of its US branch, it is far easier to find than the British counterpart. It is retained on Convoy, The Jazz Singer (1980) and Can't Stop The Music, among others (having been used as an in-credit logo in the States).

7th Logo (November 20, 1980-March 1983)

Visuals: On a blue screen, there are the letters "EMI" (in the familiar logo's font) zoom toward the center of the screen. As the letters move, the box draws itself into place forming the familiar EMI logo. The phrase "EMI FILM DISTRIBUTORS" then fades into place.

Variant: In later years, the byline "A MEMBER OF THE THORN GROUP" along with the Thorn logo appears instead of the company name (EMI merged with Thorn plc. around 1979, hence the name and logo described below). On some films, this was superimposed onto the film's opening credit sequence. Sometimes, the byline is stacked and lacks the Thorn logo.

Technique: Motion-controlled animation.

Audio: Usually none, or on rare occasions, the film's opening music.

Availability: Not widely seen in the U.S. due to replacement with American distributors' logos. Can be seen on some films of the era on old VHS's and DVD releases, such as the Anchor Bay releases of Tender Mercies and Bad Boys (1983), among others. Most current prints are usually preceded by a StudioCanal logo. This might have appeared on UK theatrical prints of First Blood, but given that Thorn EMI Video normally removed even their own logos on either side of either pond this likely doesn’t appear on early UK VHS releases. It first appeared on The Awakening.

Associated British Picture Corporation
Anglo-Amalgamated Films
EMI Films
Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment
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