Exodus: The Title Credits

Features / 08 August 2005

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As Otto Preminger’s films grew in scope (and length) in the late 1950s and early ’60s, Saul Bass’ titles became important factors in distinguishing the films from the other Hollywood epics of the time. For 1960’s Exodus, one of Preminger’s most exhausting and bombastic films, Bass opted for a simple image, one that encapsulates the protagonists’ struggle for the nation of Israel in a manner that is perhaps more effective than the rest of the film.

Similar to the iconic credit sequence that Bass had created for Carmen Jones six years earlier, the central image is one of fire, though here it symbolizes nationalist fervor rather than lusty passion. In the midst of this flame is the central cut-out image of arms reaching up – in defiance, in struggle – against a backdrop of the rich, Mediterranean blue of the Israeli flag. As a result, the title sequence seems like something of a regression for Bass, returning him to the minimalism of his earliest credit sequences. But in its elegance and lack of presumption, this minimalism contrasts neatly with the massive, star-stuffed scale of the film’s narrative.

Leo Goldsmith | © 2005 notcoming.com

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Leo Goldsmith

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