CASE STUDY: Saul Bass 07/11/11 G321: Individual Media Studies Portfolio
SAUL BASS “ making a main-title was like making a poster - you ’ re condensing the event into one concept, this one metaphor…a backstory that needs to be told or a character that needs to be introduced. ” 1920 - 1996
SAUL BASS 1920 - Born in the Bronx district of New York . Bass studied at the Art Students League in New York and Brooklyn College under Gyorgy Kepes, a Hungarian graphic designer. After apprenticeships with Manhattan design firms, Bass worked as a freelance graphic designer or "commercial artist" as they were called. 1946 - He moved to Los Angeles to get away from creative constraints imposed on him in New York. 1950 - After freelancing, he opened his own studio working mostly in advertising.
1954 - Otto Preminger invited him to design the poster for his movie, Carmen Jones . Impressed by the result, Preminger asked Bass to create the film ’ s title sequence too.
Golden Arm Bass first made his mark on film when he designed a simple paper cut-out of a heroin addict ’ s arm for the opening titles of The Man with The Golden Arm. 1955 Bass chose the arm as a powerful image of addiction rather than Frank Sinatra ’ s famous face - as the symbol of both the movie ’ s titles and its promotional poster.
<ul><li>He is best known for his use of simple, geometric shapes and their symbolism. Often, a single dominant image stands alone to deliver a powerful message. </li></ul>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGnpJ_KdqZE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnG3OjIcN8M&feature=related
<ul><li>Bass ’ s posters and titles had an uncanny ability to capture the mood of a film with simple shapes and images. This was his preferred method as opposed to using a boring photograph of a film star. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Bass was heavily influenced by Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism </li></ul>The constructivists tried to create works that would make the viewer an active viewer of the artwork.
<ul><li>Between 1970 and 1986 Bass designed for only a handful of films: Such Good Friends , Rosebud , That's Entertainment Part II , and The Human Factor . </li></ul><ul><li>In an interview with Sight and Sound in 1995 he explained, </li></ul><ul><li>'Eventually titles got out of hand. It got to a point where it seemed that somebody got up there before the film and did a tap dance. Fancy titles became fashionable rather than useful and that's when I got out'. </li></ul>
Bass was persuaded to return to the film title design in the 1980 ’ s, when he began a rich collaboration with Martin Scorsese on films including Cape Fear, Casino and the Age of Innocence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoO0ZsQ7tBg