Quest (1983)

Saul Bass is one of those people whose work is instantly familiar and has been seen by countless millions of people.  And yet few people would recognize his name.

Saul created the iconic credit sequences for a lot of films, including VertigoNorth by Northwest, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and Casino.  He also directed the decidedly psychedelic movie, Phase IV, about an all-out war with superintelligent ants that is actually about evolution and cosmic awakenings.

Even more obscure is this intriguing half-hour short he made in the 80s.  Based tangentially on Ray Bradbury’s story, Frost and Fire”, Saul fills his simple tale of a young man on a quest with a dazzling array of images, from a Magritte-inspired floating castle to pyramids and planetary alignments.

Perhaps there isn’t a lot of substance to it all, but it is short enough that it doesn’t distract us from Saul’s incredible design work.

And there just aren’t that many films where the hero plays space checkers with an apeman.

(a radio adaptation of the Bradbury story can be found here.)


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