The movie posters of American graphic designer and Oscar-winning film-maker Saul Bass (1920-1996; won an Oscar for Why Man Creates in 1968) are gorgeous. Bass, who created the hypnotic title sequences for, among other titles, Otto Preminger’s The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest and Psycho, and Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas was revered for his mastery of visual design. His stylish movie posters are not only captivating but engage with the viewer, becoming part of the film’s story.
On another note, Bass was an avid collector of art and artefacts, (pre-Colombian figures, Colina rolled-clay figures, Ashanti dolls, Indian fetishes). Just as we no see a collection of his work, he recognised the importance of curating, saying: “These tiny remains of ancient human civilizations, in addition to their intrinsic beauty, bring with them a special kind of mystery—a quality of the distant past, the unknown and unreality of it all. Like the best kind of design or film work, they communicate on two levels: the visceral or emotional level and the more complex intellectual level. The goal, and the ultimate achievement, is to make people feel as well as think.”
“My initial thoughts about what a title can do was to set mood and the prime underlying core of the film’s story, to express the story in some metaphorical way. I saw the title as a way of conditioning the audience, so that when the film actually began, viewers would already have an emotional resonance with it” – Saul Bass