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Vertigo Arg, Love in the Afternoon
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Saul BassSaul Bass had a long career as a graphic designer, involved in many corporate designs for a variety of products.
But he is perhaps most well known for his film work - both in the design of opening and closing titles/credits and the production of the main advertising posters. Starting with Carmen Jones in 1954, he hit his stride quickly, and the next year produced one of his finest title sequences and posters, for the jazz influenced Sinatra drama, The Man With the Golden Arm.
Over the next 40 years, his film title work, evolving and developing with film technology, continued to add impact and substance at the start of films - opening credits were an integral part of the films in which he was involved. He perhaps worked to greatest effect when collaborating with leading directors such as Hitchcock, Preminger and Scorsese.
His minimalistic graphic style is instantly recognisable when it appears in film posters. Usually an apparently simple work, but invariably symbolic and conveying in a single image the feel of an entire film.
As a result, original film posters on which he worked are particularly collectable, especially where the film is an offering from one of the directorial greats. Hitchcock's Vertigo, Preminger's An Anatomy of Murder, Kramer's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, World and Wilder's One, Two, Three are examples. But the list is longer, and Bass' design elevates the value and collectability of any film with which it was associated, even where the film itself was not particularly memorable.
Original Saul Bass designed film posters command high - and rising - prices. But they aren't the exclusive domain of the wealthy or serious collector. As well as the main posters, Lobby Cards are proving increasingly popular. They are smaller and usually less expensive, but the Title Card is usually the same design as the full size posters, and the scene cards nicely combine photographic scenes from the film, with a taste of Bass in their border artwork.