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Posts Tagged ‘Alfred Hitchcock’

Storyboard example from "The Hanging Tree" by writer/director/artist Delmer Daves

Storyboard example from “The Hanging Tree” by writer/director/artist Delmer Daves

One of the primary preparatory methods available to mediamakers working through pre-visualization techniques is storyboards.  This concept is presented in the initial chapter of Moving Images and has been discussed numerous times in mediateacher.net blog posts (such as through the work of Alex Toth or Saul Bass).  For filmmakers and educators wishing to explore further a wide range of methods and historical uses of storyboards, the following post (with the caveat of “please be forewarned!” some of their examples are gruesome, such as from John Carpenter’s The Thing) from the exceptional site cinephilia & beyond is a superb resource.  The cases from such classics as Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, Ridley Scott’s Alien and Blade Runner, among others, are extremely informative.

And this year’s deluxe boxed-set blu-ray release of Jerry Lewis’s The Nutty Professor has provided one of the most unexpectedly thorough resources concerning storyboarding that has ever been released to the public.  In addition, for more information on the image at left and its creator Delmer Daves, check this post out on this inspiring American creator.

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Sabrina_1954_film_posterToday there was an elegantly designed Google Doodle about one of the most celebrated costume designers in moviemaking history: Edith Head.  Here is an article from the Christian Science Monitor that features an excellent embedded video in which Edith Head discusses her work with Audrey Hepburn, one of the most stylish actresses of Hollywood history.  Edith Head’s story provides intensely interesting insights into the workings of the studio system — in her case, it was primarily at Paramount Studios (including numerous Hitchcock pictures).  In fact, to check out her work at Paramount, I would recommend to go right to one example of a black and white movie and another in color.  For B&W, check out the delightful Sabrina, directed by Billy Wilder and starring Hepburn, Humprey Bogart, and William Holden, and in color, the s’wonderful Funny Face, directed by Stanley Donen and starring Hepburn and Fred Astaire.

It should also be noted that Edith Head was certainly one of the inspirations for the unforgettable Edna Mode from The Incredibles, directed by Brad Bird (and who also voiced Ms. Mode).  She is quite an appropriate character all about design in a movie that is so seamlessly designed while brimming with the energy and spontaneity of the best creations that Hollywood craftspeople labor to bring to life.

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Poster created from iconic images by artist Saul Bass

Just recently a definitive, in-depth book on the design work of artist Saul Bass has been released: Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design (by Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham).  Bass was a true media innovator and through his work one can observe the synergy between text, composition, color, movement, and other visual elements at the core of effective communication.

Bass’s work has provided inspiration for generations of design professionals, advertisers, and filmmakers.  The dynamism of his designs were key as filmmakers invigorated the function and importance of title sequences in movies, and his work helped to usher in the mid-century modern style that has seen a renaissance in recent years, from advertising to graphic novels to animation.

Bass’s storyboard for the infamous and extremely influential shower murder scene from Psycho is highlighted in Chapter 1 of Moving Images (see Figure 1-36).  The half-hour movie Bass on Titles provides a good overview of his work and viewpoints on the craft of movie titles, such as his groundbreaking work for a number of Alfred Hitchcock films (such as Psycho, Vertigo, and North by Northwest), Scorsese movies (including Goodfellas, Cape Fearand The Age of Innocence), and many others including The Man with the Golden Arm and Cowboy.  His work can provide examples for many aspects of the essential questions in Moving Images, including motion picture forms in Chapter 5 and the full production process in Chapter 8.

As a final point, Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design features a superb foreword by Martin Scorsese – to add to the list of his exceptional work in this vein, including the moving piece he wrote for the DVD release of the Beatles’ movie Help, directed by Richard Lester.

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