Saul Bass on Purpose, with Preminger, the Power of Red and Pizazz!
Dear Friends, Movie Lovers & Saul Fans:
We're back, with our first SBA newsletter of 2019. In addition to working on a major event that will be announced next month, we've been digging deep into the Archive and come up with a great group of posters that spans four decades, with examples of Saul's work at each step of his career. Included are some true rarities, beautiful silkscreens and unique (and affordable) corporate commission pieces.
WORKING WITH OTTO IN THE RED ZONE
Many of Saul's most iconic film posters feature shades of red: there's the orangey tone of the VERTIGO 1 Sheet, the deep, rich blood-red used for the SHINING silkscreen, the multiple variations of the color found on the SAINT JOAN 1 Sheet... the list goes on. Certainly the boldness of the color was used by Saul to great dramatic effect in these posters (and in others such as the MAGNIFICENT 7 silkscreen), but sometimes Saul just used the color because he liked it, and knew that it could be effective even when the film wasn't a heavy drama or intense thriller.
Such is the case with the SUCH GOOD FRIENDS silkscreen, which we are offering for the first time. Otto Preminger's relationship with Saul was legendary and long-lived - beginning with the title sequence in CARMEN JONES (1954) and continuing thru the end of Preminger's career in 1979. While best-known for intense dramas such as ANATOMY OF A MURDER, he worked in several genres, with varying degrees of success. SUCH GOOD FRIENDS (1971) was conceived as a bitchily witty, sexy, dark comedy - which Bass' design cleverly conveys.
ROSEBUD (1975) is a drama centered around the kidnapping of five wealthy girls by the PLO. Saul's image - which consists of a tightly-gripped dagger with a "handle" comprised of the naked teenagers - succinctly sells the film as an intense thriller with provocative elements of sex and violence.
As was the case with FRIENDS, the studio behind ROSEBUD used a version of the image on much of the advertising materials, but both were so heavily modified that Saul commissioned these silkscreens to preserve his original, unaltered designs.
Preminger's next and final film was THE HUMAN FACTOR (1979), a tale of international espionage based on a novel by Graham Greene with a script was by Tom Stoppard and a top-notch cast. Saul's design - an ominously dangling phone receiver, its cord cut - was used for the 1 Sheet poster, but with a modified layout that significantly changed the scale and title treatment. As with the ROSEBUD silkscreen, this poster has rarely been offered before.
Even rarer is this card stock poster for the 1956 drama STORM CENTER, which stars Bette Davis as a small town librarian and deals with themes of book banning and Communism. Saul did the film's title sequence and produced a photo illustration design that was featured on the film's Half Sheet and Window Card posters. This advance window card - which to our knowledge was never widely distributed, and has rarely if ever been offered before - is a highly abstracted version of the image that was used. Very cool, and we're thrilled to be making it available.