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Eyvind Earle’s “West Side Story” Trailer

While visiting with animation art dealer extraordinaire Mike Van Eaton today, he showed me a piece of Eyvind Earle art I was unfamiliar with (click above image to see larger version). It’s from Earle’s animated teaser trailer for West Side Story (1961).

Earle animated this brief trailer (embed below) in 1960 after coming off the production of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. It’s obviously based on Saul Bass’ designs for the logo and poster art – but Earle’s graphic design sense, similar to this Chevrolet spot created around the same time, comes through – a unique, stylish way to sell a movie.

More about my visit with Van Eaton next week, when I’ll post some incredible classic cartoon art he has agreed to share exclusively with our readers.

  • Hank

    Interesting.  Looks more like a test for title sequence than a trailer (although it may have been an “off-line” special use piece).  Doesn’t approach the anticipation set up by the final opening title, nor the beautifully integrated end title sequence (the bulk of the title graphics are here).

  • Aaron

    Man… Imagine using something as cool as this to sell a movie nowadays.

  • Fernando Ferreira Garróz

    According to Pat Kirkham’s book about Saul Bass, the logo for West Side Story was not created by him. Bass created another symbol for this film, and it was used only in stationery, during the pre-production. There is some controversy about the authorship of WSS logo. Some fonts points poster artist Bob Peak as the author.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I like it. I’m getting more of a Saul Bass feel from it.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      This was excellent!

  • Billy Batz

    All I can hear is Walt Peregoy screaming.

  • Hank
  • James

    This is also one of the few (only?) trailers released for the film before it debuted. Every trailer made since banked on the films already established reputation.

    They were definitely imitating the very popular Saul Bass credit and art designs and it worked out quite well.

  • E. Nygma

    Eyvind Earle and Saul Bass what a team. I love Earle’s work, I have both of his hardcover collection books. I highly recommend them! Very high quality books and work presented.

  • It looks more like a trendy promotional piece for Walter Gropius.
    Isn’t this a movie with a lot of dancing?

  • CC

    Fantastic. They did a great little animation when West Side Story came to Vancouver and I’m sure it was inspired by this original.