Post-War Noir Visual Iconist Saul Bass Jazzes It Up

Saul Bass, legendary graphic designer who revolutionized animation in motion picture title sequences, continues to be a source of inspiration for many student and professional artists. (In case you are unfamiliar, here’s a compilation of his collaboration with film noir heavy-weights like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Otto Preminger.) For those interested in learning more about the evolution of mid-century art deco, a biography co-authored by his daughter Jennifer Bass and design historian Pat Kirkham called Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design, with more than 1,200 illustrations, will be available in November.

It comes as no surprise that there are many contemporarized tributes to his iconic style—from the opening of Mad Men to an alternate intro to Dexter by designer Ty Matterson. And now, may I present, from director Maikel van der Laken, a hat tip to Saul in the form of a music video for Dutch jazz singer Caro Emerald. And true to its literary inspiration, the music video for “That Man” has the following description to play up the noir ambiance.

“A night at the Copacabana can bring all kinds of excitement: wise guys on each side of the room making sure the big bosses are happy. Cigarettes sparking flames and smoking hot dames with jewels the size of Everest on their fingers. Those kept ladies can’t stop what our narrator already knows. In a devoted plea to the handsome crooner on stage, nothing’s gonna stop our girl now.”

Please step this way through the smokey backroom to our Film Noir feature page for more blood-red herrings, rogue private investigators, and irresistible femme fatales.

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