Since May, a few of Jacques Demy’s movies are available on Netflix. Besides the well-known Les parapluies de Cherbourg, Les demoiselles de Rochefort, and Peau d’Âne, there is a selection of lesser-known ones. Amongst them you can find Demy’s The Pied Piper from 1972, a lovely and dreamy adaptation written in collaboration with Andrew Birkin and Mark Peploe of the legendary tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, telling the story of a mysterious rat-catcher who happened to live during the Black Death era. The mythic character also included in works by Goethe, the brothers Grimm, and Robert Browning is here played by Donovan (facing a young John Hurt as an antagonist), who also composed and sang the songs of the Piper in the movie.
The choice of Berthold Wolpe’s Albertus as a single typeface for the credits suits very well the imaginary mediaeval northern Germany where the story takes place. To my surprise, the opening credits appear to use the same version of the typeface showing the famous uncial e and the dotless i that we know from The Prisoner TV series. In the end credits, Albertus is set in a smaller size with its original letterforms.
It’s not clear who designed the titles. George Djurkovic is credited with the art direction, and Assheton Gorton was the production designer.