Saul bass the man with the golden arm

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En 1954, Preminger volvió a desafiar las directrices del Código de Producción al adaptar la poderosa novela de Nelson Algren sobre la adicción a las drogas, un tema tabú en la América de mediados de siglo. El reto al que se enfrentaba Saul era cómo crear un símbolo que captara el drama y la intensidad de la película sin recurrir al sensacionalismo.
Creó una imagen impactante de un brazo distorsionado y desarticulado. La forma semiabstracta ayudó a distanciar la imagen de las duras realidades del tiroteo, aunque están implícitas en la (des)figuración. Además de estar desconectado de un cuerpo, el brazo negro tiene la apariencia de estar petrificado y transformado en otra cosa, al igual que el personaje de Sinatra en la película se transforma por su adicción.
«La intención de esta apertura era crear un estado de ánimo ausente, demacrado, con una intensidad impulsora… [que transmitiera] la distorsión y la irregularidad, la desconexión y la desarticulación de la vida del adicto que es el tema de la película».
Acompañadas por la partitura de jazz de Elmer Bernstein, y sobre un fondo negro, las barras blancas aparecen, desaparecen y forman patrones abstractos antes de unirse finalmente en el símbolo de la película. Los contrastes entre el blanco y el negro aumentan la intensidad estridente, y las disyuntivas encapsulan el estado de ánimo del personaje principal, un baterista deprimido con una afición por el juego y las drogas. Debido al apretado calendario, Bernstein tuvo que componer la música al mismo tiempo que Saul creaba el título. Saul explicó: «Me dio un ritmo, ‘las cuentas’ como decimos nosotros, y yo diseñé a ese ritmo. Fue un momento increíble cuando lo proyectamos por primera vez».

7:32saul bass- style is substancethe royal ocean film societyyoutube – 31 aug 2016

Before Saul Bass arrived in Hollywood, the major studios did not usually attach undue importance to the opening titles of their productions. Although European avant-gardes such as German expressionism had already explored the artistic possibilities of the format, American cinema, in general, still used these opening images in a rather functional way.
Filmmaker Otto Preminger was the first to give Bass the chance to unleash his talent for the big screen, in titles such as the daring drama about the menace of drug addiction The Man with the Golden Arm (1955).
For this film, Bass conceived a powerful graphic image that would become a true icon, the vision of a grotesquely twisted arm, a pseudo-expressionist symbolization of the ordeal experienced by the protagonist, played by Frank Sinatra, because of drugs.
Preminger was eager to exceed the moral restrictions of the so-called Hays Code, which he contributed to overthrow in a decisive way by releasing the films The Moon is Blue (1953) and the aforementioned The Man with the Golden Arm without the authorization of the government administration. The rupturist will of these films, and of those that would follow, found perfect graphic correspondence in the vigorous strokes and inventive graphics of Bass.

1:05:56saul bass: famous title sequences from preminger to scorseseflaneursolitaireyoutube – 3 apr 2014

This sequence changed the way of understanding and doing things. There were others, of lesser repercussion and relevance, but which instruct us on Bass’ unclassifiable versatility. This is the case of West Side Story (Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins, 1961) in which Bass presented the credits integrated into the atmosphere of the film. The typography, with which the acting and directing team is dismissed, appears among graffiti on the walls of an alley (Grau, 2007); The Abduction of Bunny Lake (Otto Preminger, 1965), in which the New Yorker «uses the tearing of a paper to reveal a hidden credit» (Kirkham, 2013: 18); Or the use of the cat in The Black Cat (Edward Dmytryk, 1962).
Constants in his work that hint at his influences and training. He drank from both the European avant-garde, through his teacher Gyorgy Kepes (Bauhaus School, Suprematism), which reflect his tendency to the reduction to the essential and the emphasis on flat colors (Gómez Llorente, 2011: 141); from artists like Fischinger in whom he was inspired for his credit sequences based on his abstract, animated and musical style; and from his «training at Brooklyn College in his native New York» (Gamonal Arroyo, 2005: 17). Regardless of the undeniable common traits and influences in his work, it is no less true that in pursuit of necessity and functionality he managed a wide range of registers. A clear example is his commission for The Age of Innocence (Scorsese, 1993), at the antipodes of his always pretended minimalism. An evidence of his versatility. And the fact is that those credits respond to the atmosphere of the film, of nineteenth-century and bombastic atmosphere (Ruiz de Samaniego, 2013: 22). As Bass himself said (Kirkham, 2013: 20): «there are some films for which the appropriate expression is minimalism and others that require something more nuanced and complex (…) the style is always linked to the content».

The philosophy of saul bass: the minimalist designer who …digg – 31 aug 2016

He collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock in Psycho making him responsible for the story board of the shower scene, although Hitchcock never acknowledged it. For Hitchcock he would also do the credits in North by Northwest and poster and titles for Vertigo.
Saul Bass burst into the field of audiovisual communication, introducing movements to his still images, simplifying forms, and using simple but very expressive geometric structures. Likewise, the aesthetic style of the author is very characterized by the use of flat color ranges, limited to the combination of black, yellow and red in different scales. Likewise, in the works of this author, graphic resources such as collage technique, cut-out figures and irregular typographies can be seen.
As a film poster artist he worked for Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick and later for Martin Scorsese. Among his best-known posters and/or credit titles are:[2]