“Saul Bass wasn’t just an artist who contributed to the first several minutes of some of the greatest movies in history — in my opinion his body of work qualifies him as one of the best filmmakers of one of this, or any other time.“
Whether you realize it or not, you’ve been touched by and have admired designer/filmmaker Saul Bass — his striking work is ubiquitous to the modern eye, and his name has become synonymous with graphic design. You’ve frequently taken in his elegant, striking logos, from the AT&T “death star” to the silhouetted Girl Scout cookie sisters. He single-handedly reinvented the movie title sequence (Vertigo, West Side Story, Exodus and Goodfellas? All Bass creations), illustrated the most stylistically influential movie posters, and probably created the best film sequence Hitchcock ever directed — yes, the shower scene from Psycho. Yet an equally brilliant area of his work remains vastly underseen: commercials, whimsical educational and industrial films, a fantastical Ray Bradbury adaptation, and Phase IV, one of the most visually striking sci-fi features from the genre’s Seventies golden age. With precise efficiency, Bass (with his wife/collaborator Elaine) communicated enormous feeling and information into the smallest of spaces, making him not only of our greatest designers or filmmakers — but one of the great eyes of the 20th century.
Saul Bass’s opening credits from It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World