Reader Find: Floating heads and the fall of Saul Bass’ poster designs

Chase Whale

by: Chase Whale
June 8th, 2011

(Left: 1961 Saul Bass poster design; right: 2003 MGM DVD)

For the average audience, the credits tell them there’s only three minutes left to eat popcorn. I take this ‘dead’ period and try to do more than simply get rid of names that filmgoers aren’t interested in. I aim to set up the audience for what’s coming; make them expectant.” -Saul Bass

I get a pretty steady flow of awesome stories about Hollywood that aren't just daily news scoops, so I've decided to start a new column in which I'll post a GATW reader find that I think you, all of our other readers, may enjoy. Today comes from Jennifer N. Love, who sent in an interesting-yet-depressing article on how studios destroyed the works of Saul Bass.

Bass was known for his movie poster designs, beginning in 1950 and going through 1980, and amongst the large number of directors he's worked with, there are four guys who don't need a full name introduction: Hitchcock, Scorsese, Preminger, and Kubrick. The majority of his designs were unique and sharply animated, resembling paper cut-outs. Then the DVD boom hit and Bass' designs slowly began to fade away, thanks to the use of shitty Photoshopped images of the actors used as cover art.

This comparison has come from graphic designer Christian Annyas, who built a site called SAUL BASS MOVIE POSTERS: THEN AND NOW, dedicated to Bass poster-to-DVD-artwork comparisons. What Annyas is trying to do is figure out why Hollywood decided to ditch Bass' classic and beloved work with the updated versions. Check out all of the comparisons HERE and be sure to leave Annyas a comment with your thoughts.

Annyas also has a really awesome website dedicated to movie titles - check it out!

Via The Atlantic

Got a cool movie story you want to share? Email me at [email protected]

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  • Anonymous

    Great new column! Can’t wait to see what else you find :)

    • Chase Whale

      Thanks, Kristal! :)

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