Saul Bass: The Origins of the Vertiginous Forms in Vertigo

I was browsing through the remainder bin in a Third Avenue bookshop. I leafed through a book and was stunned by some beautiful images. They were by Lissajous, a French mathematician of the late 1800s.

From a Swiss scientist’s later description of these images and how they were made, I was able to reconstruct a device used by Lissajous to create them. It consisted of a recording pendulum with an attached and smaller free-swinging eccentric pendulum which introduced variables into the motion of the recording pendulum. The recording device was a tiny brush with an ink reservoir and a stop cock regulator. Very tricky to operate. But when it worked the images were extraordinary. Watching them grow as the pendulum swung, not knowing what their final form would be, was a magical experience. I made a batch. Sat on them for years. And then Hitchcock asked me to work on “Vertigo.” Click!

I did not invent them, they had already existed, but were not fully recognized for their aesthetic potential since they were mainly seen as scientific expressions. You could say I was obsessed with them for a while — that I had fallen in love with them — so I knew what Hitch was driving at. [x]

FilmSaul BassVertigogifAlfred Hitchcock

Film Posters by Saul Bass

Part Four: 1968 - 1993
Why Man Creates | Such Good Friends | Rosebud | The Double McGuffin | The Human Factor | The Shining  | The Solar Film | Return from the River Kwai | Schindler’s List

Film Posters by Saul Bass

Part Three: 1963 - 1968
The Cardinal | In Harm’s Way | Bunny Lake is Missing | Seconds | Grand Prix | The Firemen’s Ball | The Two of Us | Very Happy Alexander | The Fixer

Film Posters by Saul Bass

Part Two: 1958 - 1963
The Big Country | Vertigo | Anatomy of a Murder | Exodus | Spartacus | The Magnificent Seven | One Two Three | Advise & Consent | Nine Hours to Rama

Film Posters by Saul Bass

Part One: 1949 - 1958
Champion | Carmen Jones | The Man With the Golden Arm | Attack! | Edge of the City | Storm Center | Love in the Afternoon | Saint Joan | Bonjour Tristesse

"Some years ago I was asked, ‘When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?’ Back then I thought the answer I gave was funny. I said, "Saul Bass." It was no joke."
Saul Bass (May 8, 1920 – April 25, 1996)

"Some years ago I was asked, ‘When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?’ Back then I thought the answer I gave was funny. I said, "Saul Bass." It was no joke."

Saul Bass (May 8, 1920 – April 25, 1996)

ArtDesignFilmIconsIllustrationSaul Bass
"Somewhere in here I was born, and there I died. It was only a moment for you, you took no notice."

"Somewhere in here I was born, and there I died. It was only a moment for you, you took no notice."

VertigoAlfred HitchcockSaul BassFilmgif
Vertigo // Saul Bass

Vertigo // Saul Bass