Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 by Russ Fischer
Saul Bass is widely known for his work as an artist, title designer, and corporate logo craftsman. His movie posters and title work for films such as The Man With the Golden Arm, Anatomy of a Murder and many movies by Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese cemented his ideas as cornerstones of cinematic storytelling and advertising. The logos and icons he designed for companies such as Quaker Oats, the United Way, AT&T, and Girl Scouts of America all defined those companies’ public image for years.
Saul Bass also directed one feature film: a very strange and wonderful sci-fi picture called Phase IV, in which a colony of ants evolves into a collective hive mind. When two humans begin investigating the ants’ desert home, the insects go on the offensive. The ants are played by real insects, shot with beautiful macro photography, and the film is defined by a sci-fi ethos that is somewhere between “hardcore” and “dreamlike.”
Which is to say, Phase IV isn’t a traditional film. It prioritizes image over dialogue and is a pure expression of Bass’ design interests. The movie has had a lasting influence on other designers (you can see its influence in other sci-fi, in comics and on album covers) but it originally ended in a way different than what most audiences have seen. And now that original ending is making its way to the public. Read More »