Cape fear (1991)
- Directed by:
- Martin Scorsese
- Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis, Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Martin Balsam
- Title design:
- Elaine & Saul Bass
‘CAPE FEAR’ was the fifth of ten title sequences Saul Bass designed with his wife Elaine and the second of five sequences designed for Martin Scorsese:
Goodfellas (1990) + Cape Fear (1991) + The Age of Innocence (1993) + A personal journey with Martin Scorsese through American movies (1995) + Casino (1995)For this title sequence Saul Bass used material from an earlier sequence he designed, the transforming faces from Seconds (1966)
I had the honor of working with Saul and Elaine Bass on the title sequences of four pictures in a row. Each time they would study the film, take a few months, and then send us back a test that exceeded my wildest expectations. The simple, speeding graphic of the Goodfellas (1990) titles synced to the sound of speeding cars on an expressway … the ominous, wavering reflections in water of phantom images that began Cape fear (1991) … the endlessly blooming flowers, like love renewing itself again and again, under layers of lace for The age of innocence (1993) … the form of a man falling through a neon hell in Casino (1995).
These title sequences didn’t just complement my pictures, they gave them another layer, embodying the themes and the emotions in a way that led viewers into the mystery of the film without giving it all away. And, of course, every sequence was different in style and approach.
There’s a story about someone seeing the titles for Wyler’s The big country (1958) and remarking to Saul that it “didn’t look like a Saul Bass sequence.” There was only the movie – not the script, but the living movie.
There was only one Saul Bass. He was a gentleman, a brilliant raconteur, a marvelous collaborator and, as I’ve said before, a truly great artist. And – let’s be honest – a giant.
— Martin Scorsese – “Saul Bass’ cinematic art,” February 2010 issue of Architectural Digest
More Saul Bass related articles: Saul Bass logo design: then and now + Saul Bass’ movie posters: then and now + Saul Bass’ Vertigo movie poster design