Today we celebrate by showing hallowed title sequences from one of the all-time great director and designer pairings: Alfred Hitchcock and Saul Bass. And with them, composer Bernard Hermann, who did a lot of heavy lifting in making these masterpieces of suspense.
Vertigo is the height (pun intended) of modern abstraction. Here Bass and Hitchcock depart into a purely graphic world that starts and ends with Kim Novak. Consider what a daring approach this was compared to other titles of the time -- like the more conventional but perfectly effective one for Rear Window. Macro shots plus spirograph plus score: the sum becomes more than its parts.
North by Northwest: Title sequences set the scene, and this one does literally by revealing itself to be a graphic version of a Manhattan building. So seamless and elegant. Loving that the type that sits dimensionally in relation to the perspective. Saul did it first.
And completing the trilogy, Psycho. Do you think this minimalist approach to opening a horror film could happen today? After all, is this a Mies van der Rohe biopic or a Bauhaus disaster film? Again, the Hermann score completes the picture. And it totally works! So there you go. Less is more. Unless when it comes to candy. Trick or Treat!
Karin Fong directs and designs for the screen. A partner at design and production company Imaginary Forces, she’s created numerous sequences for television and feature film. Her reel includes the main titles for Boardwalk Empire, Charlotte’s Web, Terminator:Salvation, The Pink Panther 2, Hellboy, and Ray. Among Karin’s accolades are five nominations and an Emmy for her work in main title design.