A Brief Visual Introduction to Saul Bass’ Celebrated Title Designs

Title sequences begin and end every movie. They can be “engag­ing or wild­ly enter­tain­ing … or sim­ply drop dead beau­ti­ful.” They can “ooze with visu­al poet­ry and sophis­ti­cat­ed imagery.” And they can put the audi­ence in the right mood for the movie, or close it in the right way, says the web site For­get the Films, Watch the Titles.

When it comes to title design, no one did it bet­ter than Saul Bass (1920–1996). Dur­ing his long career in Hol­ly­wood, Bass designed sequences for Otto Pre­minger’s The Man with the Gold­en Arm (full movie here), Scors­ese’s Good­fel­las and Cape Fear, Kubrick­’s Spar­ta­cus, and sev­er­al films by Alfred Hitch­cock. And that’s just begin­ning to scratch the sur­face.

Cre­at­ed by Ian Albinson, the mon­tage above offers a brief visu­al his­to­ry of Bass’s most cel­e­brat­ed work, stitch­ing togeth­er designs from 25 films. (Find the full film list here.)  If this whets your appetite, you’ll want to check out the new­ly-pub­lished book Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design and this web site ded­i­cat­ed to Bass’s title design. And don’t miss our big col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online.

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