Sunday, December 12, 2010

1981 - THE SOLAR FILM, 1968 - WHY MAN CREATES, 1984 - QUEST, 1977 - BASS ON TITLES, short films by Saul Bass

Some short films by the graphic artist Saul Bass who designed titles for many famous films in the 1950's and 60's.  Bass started out his career creating titles with strong bold lines on simple backgrounds, as his career progressed, his titles would become mini stories before the actual feature.  Occasionally Bass would direct short films, these are few of them:

The Solar Film:  hired by Robert Redford to create a short film extolling the benefits of solar energy, Bass used humor and animation for what was essentially a sales job to the middle class about the benefits of solar energy.  The film is well meaning but also naive, simplistic and pretty dated in its attitudes about solar power. 

28 minutes.

Why Man Creates:  This was an award winning film exploring human creativity.  Why Man Creates has lots of humor and animation, but the music and 1968 clothes and hairstyles really date it.  The film is entertaining and interesting,  but it really doesn't come close to exploring the subject of human imagination like powers of ten by Charles and Ray Eames.

29 minutes.

Quest:  A short science fiction film written by Ray Bradbury.  On another planet, people are born, live and die in 8 days.  One of them is sent on a quest to reverse this process before he dies.    Bass really creates some striking images and effects with models and animation.  This is probably the most interesting film of the four.

30 minutes.

Bass on Titles:  A cheaply made short interview film with Saul Bass.  Bass introduces some of the titles he created for the films he worked on.  The film is so poorly produced it doesn't even bother to show the titles with the correct film frame ratio.  Bass on Titles does have a couple of interesting things going on in it.  The prologue to The Victors is an impressive mini epic of World War II and the prowling cat sequence in Walk On The Wild Side also looks very cool. 

Interesting if kind of inside film stuff.

Bass on Titles, 32 minutes.

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