Thursday, February 12, 2009

Saul Bass controversial title sequences for The Man with the Golden Arm prelude to North by Northwest, Psycho, Vertigo




Saul Bass became notorious in the industry after creating the title sequence for Otto Preminger's The Man with the Golden Arm (1955). The subject of the film was a jazz musician's struggle to overcome his heroin addiction, a taboo subject in the mid-'50s. Bass decided to create a controversial title sequence to match the film's controversial subject. He chose the arm as the central image, as the arm is a strong image relating to drug addiction. The titles featured an animated, black paper cut-out arm of a heroin addict. As he expected, it caused quite a sensation.

For Alfred Hitchcock, Bass provided effective, memorable title sequences, employing kinetic typography, for North by Northwest, Vertigo, working with John Whitney, and Psycho. It was this kind of innovative, revolutionary work that made Bass a revered graphic designer. His later work with Martin Scorsese saw him move away from the optical techniques that he had pioneered and move into computerized titles, from which he produced the title sequence for Casino.

He designed title sequences for 40 years, for films as diverse as Spartacus (1960), The Victors (1963), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and Casino (1995). He also designed title sequences for films such as Goodfellas (1990), Doc Hollywood (1991), Cape Fear (1991) and The Age of Innocence (1993), all of which feature new and innovative methods of production and startling graphic design.

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Who is the mysterious TCManiac?

First, I'll tell you who I am not. I am not affiliated with TCM. I am not some superbot created by software developers. I am not being paid by TCM or anyone else to dedicate my time to tweeting. I am a real flesh and blood human being. I am a real maniac for TCM. I really do keep my TV tuned to TCM 24-7. I created the TCManiacs twitter as a result of my sincere passion for watching Turner Classic Movies.

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Well, I've been a fan of TCM since its inception. As I lay flat on my back recovering from a disabling health crisis unable to do little more than watch TV and surf the internet, I found refuge watching TCM round the clock. I soon developed an obsessive habit of keeping a browser tab open for the TCM schedule and beating Robert Osbourne's introductions to finding out facts for upcoming movies. My entire day and night became defined by the TCM line-up. At the beginning of 2009 I decided to check out twitter and lucked up on some fellow TCM fans to friend. During the 31 days Oscar I decided to dedicate a twitter just to share my TCM obsession by tweeting about every movie every day of February. I was totally overwhelmed by the number of fellow TCM maniacs that became my following. Its been a WIN WIN in everyway for me. I have had the opportunity to share fun stuff with some incredible fellow classic movie lovers and bloggers. With so many followers I became committed to maintaining the twitter schedule and finding fun stuff for upcoming TCM movies.
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