Saul Bass, Elmer Bernstein, Decca Records Album cover for The Man with the Golden Arm 1955

  • Not on view

The emblematic silhouette of a drug addict's contorted forearm was the key to Bass's campaign linking poster and album cover design to the film's title sequence. Bass wanted to convey "the distortion and jaggedness, the disconnectedness and disjointedness of the addict's life." Music was important to the film's narrative, the main character being a downbeat drummer played by Frank Sinatra. Working on a tight production schedule Bernstein composed his music at the same time that Bass was creating the title. Bass explained, "He gave me a beat, 'the counts' as we say, and I designed to that beat."

Gallery label from Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye, November 15, 2014–January 17, 2016.
12 1/4 x 12 1/4" (31.1 x 31.1 cm)
Gift of the designer
Object number
Architecture and Design

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