I concur. It’s a terrific piece and should be read anyone who likes Hitchcock or the genius who designed his most memorable title sequences, Saul Bass. Stewart’s post incorporates some YouTube examples of Bass’s work, including the titles for Edward Dmytryk’s Walk on the Wild Side (above). It’s a wonderful sequence, but as Stan Brakhage once pointed out – more miffed than flattered – the concept for it appears to have been lifted from Brakhage’s 1956 film Nightcats, a classic example of how avant-garde ideas work their way into the mainstream.
But let’s not quibble. Bass (along with his wife, Elaine) designed and directed many great title sequences including Vertigo and Psycho for Hitchcock, The Man With the Golden Arm and Exodus for Otto Preminger, The Age of Innocence for Scorsese, and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World for Stanley Kramer. All of them owe a large part of their effectiveness to the composers who underscored them. Elmer Bernstein scored Walk on the Wild Side, The Man With the Golden Arm, and The Age of Innocence. Bernard Herrmann scored the Hitchcock-Bass collaborations. Ernest Gold was the composer for Exodus and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
No matter who he collaborated with, Bass’s title sequences were never less than striking. If I was forced to pick a favorite, it would have to be either Vertigo (Hitchcock & Herrmann), or Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus (below) scored by Alex North.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjb-CUPjGYU]