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Disclaimer

Unless otherwise noted in the post title, these are not
reviews, per se. They are articles for people who have already seen the film or read the book in question--meaning that there will be spoilers. If you're already familiar with the material being covered, or don't mind the plot being spoiled, please read on and leave a comment.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Poster Art of Saul Bass

For my money, two of the most striking movie posters have always been those for Otto Preminger's THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955) and ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959).  Both feature stark colors and a minimalist design that convey not only the basic plot of the film, but the very mood of it as well.  The first shows the perils of heroin addiction, while the second showcases a corpse (which has been cut into seven distinct sections).  Both have obvious similarities, but being for films from the same director within the same era, why wouldn't they?

Saul Bass - The Man with the Golden Arm - Poster Image


Saul Bass - Anatomy of a Murder - Poster Image

It wasn't until I took a hard look at the poster artwork for Preminger's 1965 film BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING that I realized all three of the images were likely created by the same artist.  Poster art is a field that I am woefully ignorant of, so the only thing I knew for certain was that this wasn't the work of Drew Struzan.

Saul Bass - Bunny Lake is Missing - Poster Image

With minimal effort, I discovered that the man behind this artwork was Saul Bass (also famous for his opening title sequences), who crafted a number of memorable movie posters, including the pair of VERTIGO (1958) posters below for Alfred Hitchcock.

Saul Bass - Vertigo - Poster Image
Saul Bass - Vertigo - Poster Image

But perhaps nothing in his extensive catalog of work is so familiar to genre film fans as his poster of Stanley Kubrick's Stephen King adaptation THE SHINING (1980).

Saul Bass - The Shining - Poster Image

Probably seen less-often, though, is the concept art for the poster which was denied by the studio--I actually like this one much better (though I may not be the best judge, as I think THE SHINING is an overrated film.  Let the crucifixion begin.)

Saul Bass - The Shining - Concept Art

On a side note, there was a bit of controversy in 1995 when Spike Lee's film CLOCKERS was released with a poster image that bore more than a slight resemblance to Bass's ANATOMY FOR A MURDER.

Art Sims - Clockers - Poster Image

Designer Art Sims declared that it was an "homage" and "a salute" but Bass forever saw it as a rip-off.


--J/Metro

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