Saul Bass vs. the World.

Think about how different the Star Wars series would have been if George Lucas had with an amazing title sequence like this!

It's inspired by the legendary Saul Bass, who was an American graphic designer and known for designing colourful, dynamic title sequences for filmmakers like Hitchcock, Kubrick, and Scorsese, among others. His style has gone on to inspire many others, his legacy can be seen in film credits like Catch Me If You Can, Toy Story, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, among many others. Bass' titles revolutionized how important a credit sequence can be. It sets the tone for the film, and if a director is smart, he can use it to prepare his audience emotionally for what they are about to see.

Hitchcock saw this, and it is apparent in the opening titles for both Vertigo and Psycho. Vertigo's titles literally give you the sensation of vertigo, as well as hypnotize you to Bernard Hermann's excellent and mysterious score. If you've seen the film, it's also no surprise that the journey down Bass' downward spiral is instigated by the face of a beautiful woman.

Saul Bass' Vertigo title sequence:

Psycho's titles are equally effective. Again Bernard Hermann's music is used to full effect; an energetic, pulsing, and piercing score that accompanies Bass' busy, fractured graphics. It gets you excited while slowly drives you crazy. Once the titles end, Hitchcock's camera scans the city of Phoenix, Arizona, giving the precise date and time, and slowly zeroes in on Marion Crane, almost picking her out of a city of millions, giving us the uneasy sensation that the protagonist could be nearly anyone, anywhere! Even you! It's no surprise that Psycho played at theatres with the proviso that no-one be allowed entry once the film had started. His films were a highly calculated package, with no dead weight; everything mattered--especially the titles.

Bass' Psycho title sequence:

No comments:

Post a Comment