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Posts Tagged ‘Grace Kelly

“Symbolize and summarize”*…

 

Saul Bass was one of America’s premiere graphic designers through the second half of the Twentieth Century. He created some of the best-remembered, most iconic logos in North America:  e.g., the Bell Telephone logo (1969) and the successor AT&T globe (1983), Continental Airlines (1968), Dixie (1969), United Airlines (1974), and Warner Communications (1974).  

But for your correspondent’s money, his major contribution was his extraordinary series of movie titles and posters, created for the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick, and Martin Scorsese.  Prior to Bass, movie title sequences had largely been a series of “credit cards,” functioning in effect as title pages.  Bass developed the opening as a way to set the emotional stage for the film to follow.  As screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi said of Bass and his second wife and collaborator Elaine, “you write a book of 300 to 400 pages and then you boil it down to a script of maybe 100 to 150 pages. Eventually you have the pleasure of seeing that the Basses have knocked you right out of the ballpark. They have boiled it down to four minutes flat.”

In the broadest sense, all modern opening title sequences that introduce the mood or theme of a film can be seen as descendent of Bass’s innovative work. In particular, though, one can detect the influence of Bass in the title sequences for some recent movies and television series (especially those set in the 1960s) that have purposely emulated the graphic style of his animated sequences from that era: e.g.,  Catch Me If You Can (2002), X-Men: First Class (2011), and the opening to the AMC series Mad Men.

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See a more complete frame board of Bass’ North By Northwest opening here; browse more of his extraordinary canon here— all courtesy of our old friend Christian Annyas.

* Saul Bass

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As we mute our cell phones, we might recall that it was on this date in 1956 that Alfred Hitchcock’s muse, the Oscar-winning actress Grace Kelly, became Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco.

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Written by LW

April 19, 2014 at 1:01 am

The Passing of the Passion Pit (Part 2)…

Long-time readers will recall Carl Weese’s photographic homage to “soft-tops,” as drive-in movie theaters are known in the trade.  Now, following figuratively in his footsteps, Craig Deman’s “The Drive-in Project,” a record of pleasures past across the country.

See the full portfolio here.  And dive more deeply into the melancholy via this photo tour of abandoned amusement parks around the world.

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As we reach for the speaker, we might recall that it was on this date in 1982 that Grace, Princess of Monaco (née Grace Kelly) died when she suffered a stroke, then lost control of her automobile and crashed.  She had retired in 1956 from a six-year career as an actress, capped by a Academy Award for her performance in The Country Girl, to marry Prince Ranier.

Grace Kelly in “High Society” (1956)

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Written by LW

September 14, 2013 at 1:01 am

It’s the *pictures* that got small…

Hedy Lamarr, actress and pioneer of spread-spectrum radio transmission

Virginia Postrel reports in Deep Glamour:

A beautiful exhibit of classic Hollywood portraits is currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London. (In December, it moves to the Bendigo Art Gallery in Victoria, Australia.) The exhibit, which draws its photos from the John Kobal Collection, originated at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which provided the images for this slideshow, which originally ran on DG in 2008.

The photos all present idealized versions of the stars–but what a range of ideals they represent, from the refined elegance of Grace Kelly to the sultry seductiveness of Rita Hayworth’s Gilda, from Vivian Leigh in hyperfeminine white ruffles to Marlene Dietrich tough and dominant in a crisp blouse and slacks. And those are just (a few of) the women…

Like Debbie Reynolds’s late-lamented costume collection, the John Kobal Collection originated with MGM’s mother of all garage sales. In the ’60s and ’70s, when Golden Age glamour was out of fashion and studios were dumping their archives, Kobal bought and preserved prints and negatives, befriended aging stars and photographers, and documented their stories. Most of the classic images you see reproduced today come from his archives…

Marlon Brando, actor and activist

More images at Deep Glamour.

As we strike our poses, we might recall that it was on this date in 1956 that High Society opened in movie theaters across the U.S.  It was the last film made by Grace Kelly, who had married Prince Ranier of Monaco months before the premiere.  It was a questionable note– a remake (of The Philadelphia Story)– on which to retire… but it did feature music and lyrics by Cole Porter.

Grace Kelly, just before she became Princess Consort of Monaco

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