Google Doodle Pays Homage to Opening Titles Auteur Saul Bass

Bryan Enk
Movie Talk

Today would have been the 93rd birthday of designer, artist and opening credits sequence maestro Saul Bass, and Google is celebrating the man's super-cool legacy in style.

Bass, who died in 1996 at the age of 75, was known for his distinctive opening titles, posters and corporate logos. In his 40-year career in Hollywood, he worked with such esteemed filmmakers as Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Otto Preminger and Stanley Kubrick, creating what would become the famous title sequences of Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" (1959), which features the credits going up and down a skyscraper; Preminger's "The Man with the Golden Arm" (1955), which has an animated paper cut-out of a drug addict's arm; and, of course, Hitchcock's "Psycho" (1960), which has disjointed text coming together and apart all to and fro, a playful interpretation of Norman Bates' broken psyche.

Bass' work with Martin Scorsese includes the relatively simple opening credits of "Goodfellas" (1990) to the explosive ballet of "Casino" (1995), with title sequences for "Cape Fear" (1991) and "The Age of Innocence" (1993) in-between. He also created the title sequences of Kubrick's "Spartacus" (1960), the original "Ocean's 11" (1960), John Frankenheimer's bizarre psychological thriller "Seconds" (1966) and Penny Marshall's coming-of-age comedy "Big" (1988).

Bass' influence is still felt -- and his style often imitated -- in Hollywood today, as the old-school title sequence of Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can" (2002) pays homage to the artist, as do the retro opening titles of "X-Men: First Class" (2011) and that of the AMC television series "Mad Men."

Speaking of homages to Bass, go to the Google homepage to experience today's rather impressive Google Doodle, which takes you through an 81-second montage dedicated to Bass' work: