Meet Saul Bass

A film is never individual work nor should it be reduced to one. Graphic designers who work on movie posters as well as credit sequences are more than mere accessories to great directorial works. Their task is to reduce the idea behind a film into one single image (that of the poster) without betraying it and then, they capture our attention during the credit sequence, as haunting or as comic as it is. Very few people have done this with more innovation than Saul Bass, back in the day when Photoshop was not available and censorship was tight.

“SAUL BASS (1920-1996) was not only one of the great graphic designers of the mid-20th century but the undisputed master of film title design thanks to his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Martin Scorsese.

When the reels of film for Otto Preminger’s controversial new drugs movie, The Man with the Golden Arm, arrived at US movie theaters in 1955, a note was stuck on the cans – “Projectionists – pull curtain before titles”. Until then, the lists of cast and crew members which passed for movie titles were so dull that projectionists only pulled back the curtains to reveal the screen once they’d finished. But Preminger wanted his audience to see The Man with the Golden Arm’s titles as an integral part of the film.” (http://designmuseum.org/design/saul-bass/)
Bass also designed the credit sequence for Hitchcock’s “Psycho” & “North by Northwest”. Some of his other works are “Casino”, “Goodfellas”, “West Side Story”, “The Seven Year Itch” etc.

Here is a portrait of the artist, undated (and unknown photographer ) & some of his spectacular work on our favorite film posters. No introduction needed.

For another compelling film poster, this time from Poland, check out https://kinoimages.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/kanal-film-poster/

Visconti’s costume designer is Piero Tosi

Piero Tosi (born April 10, 1927) is an Italian costume designer and collaborator of Luchino Visconti on many of the director’s films, including: Death in Venice (1971), The Leopard (1963), Rocco & His Brothers (1960) , The Damned (1969) and of course “Ludwig” (1972) . He was also the costume designer on “The Night Porter” (1974). An underrated artist if there ever was one.

For another post about a famous costume designer, click here https://kinoimages.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/the-genius-behind-hitchcocks-most-famous-costumes/

© Luchino Visconti & costume designer Piero Tosi with Silvana Mangano on the set of “Death in Venice”.

© ” Piero Tosiby Elisabetta Claudio (2009) for L’Uomo Vogue.

Rampling by Lynch / Rampling by Teller

International fascination with actress Charlotte Rampling’s face is not likely to change anytime soon.

I would like to share with you these recent photos of her shot by David Lynch and Juergen Teller. There are no associations between the works of Lynch & Teller, nor am I trying to compare them.

Teller, born in Erlangen, Germany in 1964, has been published in influential publications such as W Magazine, iD and Purple and is a well-known fashion photographer. He did an erotic photoshoot of Rampling in Seattle around 2008. Teller has produced numerous monographs with Steidl art publishing house including Marc Jacobs Advertising 1998-2009 and Zimmerman, where you can find these images.
Copyright goes to, naturally, Steidl.

© “Charlotte Rampling” by David Lynch (2008)

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© Charlotte Rampling by Juergen Teller, Seattle, 2008.

© Charlotte Rampling at the Louvre, by Juergen Teller

© Charlotte Rampling & Raquel Zimmermann at the Louvre, by Juergen Teller

© Charlotte Rampling by Juergen Teller, Seattle.

© Charlotte Rampling by Juergen Teller.

 

A close encounter between Truffaut & Spielberg

© On the set of  the sci-fi film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977), directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Richard Dreyfuss and Francois Truffaut, French Nouvelle-Vague director, Truffaut and Spielberg hung around and apparently pointed at something while seemingly discussing a scene. Check it out.

PS – Richard Dreyfuss fans can check him out here https://kinoimages.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/374/

 

What happens after the Apocalypse ?

A separation needs to be made between disaster scenarios & post Apocalypse. In a lot of Hollywood films, earthquakes, volcanoes, massive floods constitute a disasterpiece which the goverment somehow manages to stop it before everyone dies. This is a disaster scenario. How many times do we really see what goes on after ? After everyone dies and the earth is destroyed? It’s not as frequent as you think. It has been represented & epitomized by zombies because of what zombies represent to the human unconscious, a form of survival after extinction, but other than that, a legitimate depiction of the post-Apocalypse remains rare.

One of the few films which, in my opinion, seriously deal with this is Luc Besson’s first feature film “Le Dernier Combat” (1983), starring Pierre Jovilet, Jean Reno & Jean Bouise. I am not at all Besson’s biggest fan but I admire his representation of our survival as having returned to the most primitive of states with no language (the film has no dialogue) & rock art.
Here are some photos of what I think is Besson’s underrated chef-d’oeuvre. © Luc Besson.

The King of Cool in Harper’s Bazaar!

The King of Cool Steve McQueen poses alongside supermodel Jean Shrimpton. Shot by Richard Avedon for Harper’s Bazaar magazine – February, 1965! Here’s the magazine cover & the inside spread.
© Harper’s Bazaar

Remember Leonard Bernstein

 Renowned composer Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) is known for being a conductor, author, music lecturer & concert pianist.
Director of the famous New York Philharmonic, Bernstein met with a lot of success throughout his career, especially for his Broadway rendition of “West Side Story” and numerous operas, symphonies etc.
However, he also contributed to the world of cinema with the following film scores: “West Side Story” (1961, directed by Robert Wise) & “On The Waterfront” (1954, Elia Kazan).  I personally tremendously appreciate the latter.

© Leonard Bernstein (with Carol Lawrence in background) instructing cast during rehearsal for West Side Story.

© The West Side Story gang in 1957 Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, Hal Prince, Robert Griffith (a co-producer, seated), Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins