Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Saul Bass Titles For John Frankenheimer's "Seconds"

There's little left to say about Saul Bass.  He's one of the few graphic artists in film who's work has been well documented -not to the smothering extent of the Disney big shots but more than say, Pablo Ferro or Jim Tyer.

Every word of praise is deserved.  He was an unparalleled talent.

If I had to make a short list of filmmakers to study under, Saul Bass would be near the top.

These are frame grabs from "Seconds".  I've grabbed approximately one every 30 video frames.  It reads left to right, then down.

Click to enlarge any page.


Extreme close ups distort from one to the next.  I'm guessing this was done with an optical printer, but must have been in camera.

The sculpting of the face (in live action) is graphic shorthand for the narrative of the film.

The title sequence, in essence, tells us what the movie is without coming right out and saying it.


The process used in this sequence is the perfect choice for poetically presenting the theme of the film.

The film is a "psychological thriller", but this sequence is the only truly spine-tingling part. 


Director credit.  Resolve on scene one.

A little bit of brilliance.


Michael Sporn said...

That was an excellent film (though it might look dated now.) The Saul Bass titles work well with the brilliant Jerry Goldsmith score. It quietly and intelligently advanced the use of serial music in film.

Paul said...

The sequence for this film a) sets the mood of the movie and b) creeped the Hell out of me. Extremely effective!

pamela said...

Saul Bass really changed the look of - and approach to - title designs. But usually he was the director, not the animator, true? Many of the films are pre-Star Wars, and thus pre-hour long credits, so the actual animators were not included in the credits. I know Art Goodman worked on "Why Man Creates" and Whitney's work was used in "Vertigo" - I'm seeking info on the actual animators behind these amazing title sequences...any info?