There were title sequences before Saul Bass, and there were title sequences after Saul Bass. The legendary graphic artist, born 100 years ago on May 8, revolutionized the art of motion-picture credits with his groundbreaking opening to Otto Preminger’s THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM, using strikingly minimalist design elements to visualize the story’s explosive theme of drug addiction. Over the next forty years, Bass would employ techniques ranging from animation (AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, OCEAN’S 11) to live action (WALK ON THE WILD SIDE) to avant-garde experimentation (SECONDS) to time-lapse photography (THE AGE OF INNOCENCE) to create some of the most dazzling title sequences of all time, miniature works of art that not only set the mood for the feature to follow but which often help to tell the story itself. Though he directed only one feature—the visually stunning science-fiction head trip PHASE IV—Bass left behind a widely influential legacy as one of the most innovative film artists of the twentieth century.
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