A less publicly appreciated (and comparatively unknown) filmmaker, Saul Bass had no less enviable career than any widely recognized director. And he worked with a lot of them, too. Famous—in the film industry—for designing title sequences, Bass was a repeat collaborator to many legendary directors, including Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Martin Scorsese. He did the titles for such great films as “Vertigo,” “North By Northwest,” “Psycho,” “Spartacus,” “Ocean’s 11” (the original), “Goodfellas,” “Casino,” and “Big.” And the list goes on. The guy was prolific and busy.
He also designed some of the corporate world’s most famous logos. The Bell System bell in a circle? Him. The AT&T globe? Ditto. Continental Airline’s Jetstream and United’s tulip in the ’70s? Yup and yup. Bass even won an Academy Award for a short film he directed. Yes, the guy was an Oscar-winning director too. (The win was for his 1968 short documentary, “Why Man Creates.”)
It’s only natural that a man known for his designs would have a keen visual sense. Bass’ directing resume is only seven credits long (and only one of the films was a feature), but his work was always worth watching. Take, for example, his 1984 film “Quest“—Bass’s last directorial endeavor. It’s about as trippy and gloriously dated sci-fi as they come, and we have it in its entirety for you to enjoy.
Set… sometime… the film follows a group of people who have a pretty big problem. “The ancients lived a long and fruitful life. Now, our lifespan is eight days. Yes, for us there is no time. The minutes, the hours, and the days fly away. And our lives along with them.” That’s right, they live for only eight days, because there’s a gate…somewhere…that blocks a light, which allows people to live 50 years or more. Or, you know, a normal lifespan. Spoiler alert, a child born at the start of the film (who ages literally from one scene to the next) sets out on a…quest…to shed the life-sustaining light on his people.
Has your brain been blown yet? Pretty crazy stuff, right? And why shouldn’t it be? “Quest” is based on the story “Frost and Fire” by Ray Bradbury (Bradbury receives writing credit for the film, too). Bass’ wife, Elaine even co-directed. Watch the short below and prepare for some brain melt [via Open Culture].