Graphic Designer (1920-1996)
When the reels of film for Otto Preminger’s controversial new drugs movie, The Man with the Golden Arm, arrived at US movie theatres in 1955, a note was stuck on the cans – “Projectionists – pull curtain before titles”.
That cut-out arm caused a sensation and Saul Bass reinvented the movie title as an art form. By the end of his life, he had created over 50 title sequences for Preminger, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, John Frankenheimer and Martin Scorsese. Although he later claimed that he found the Man with the Golden Arm sequence “a little disappointing now, because it was so imitated”.
Now over-shadowed by Bass’ later work, Carmen Jones elicited commissions for titles for two 1955 movies: Robert Aldrich’s The Big Knife, and Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch. But it was his next Preminger project, The Man with the Golden Arm, which established Bass as the doyen of film title design.
1996 Saul Bass dies in Los Angeles of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
The New Masters of flash
In this book, Bendan Dawes talks about Saul Bass in relation to his work:“Were Saul alive today, I feel sure he would be using Flash as his creative medium. You only have to look at his stunning titles for movies like psycho lines slashing across the screen) to recognise his work as the forerunner of many of todays flash web site sequences. Even if the creator doesn’t know.” Saul Bass isnt somebody I would have chose to look up but I am actually glad I did. It seems he was a very well respected person within the design industry, and as mensioned in the book above, it would have been interested to see what he could of designed with the materials and software of today.