Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Up until the 1950s, movie credit titles were generally treated as a necessary evil rather than an art form. They had to be there whether the producer wanted them or not, so very little time was spent on making them any more attractive or entertaining than necessary. American graphic designer Saul Bass (1920-1996) changed all that, beginning with his rivetting titles for Otto Preminger's Carmen Jones. Among Bass' loftier achievements were the animated closing titles of Around the World in 80 Days (1956), the "dismembered body" motif of Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and the torn-page design of Bunny Lake is Missing (1965). He also directed several award-winning animated shorts, and was largely responsible for the design and execution of the shower sequence in Hitchcock's Psycho. The 32-minute Bass on Titles offers generous highlights from Bass' work, tied in with his edict that all credit titles should be a function of the mood and theme of the film. Produced and narrated by Saul Bass himself, Bass on Titles is available from Pyramid Films.
career-retrospective, filmmaker, graphic-design, highlights