One of the most sought after and influential film posters to emerge from the the Polish School, Bronislaw Zelek's stark and captivating design for the first Polish release of Hitchcock's psychological masterpiece The Birds has become an icon of Polish graphic design. Based on Daphne du Maurier's 1952 short story of the same name and starring Tippi Hendren in her debut role, the suspense-filled thriller set in an eerie Northern California coastal town besieged by a series of unexplained violent bird attacks remains one of the most terrifying films ever made. Like all state-commissioned artists during the Soviet era in the Communist Bloc, Zelek had little access to American publicity materials, liberating him from the demands of the big Hollywood studios and allowing him the creative freedom to offer a more abstract or surreal interpretation of the film, in glaring contrast to Western versions which generally focused on imagery of the film's stars or key scenes. In his design for The Birds, Zelek's trademark technique of layering imagery and typography to create a minimal, cohesive design, is utilised to dramatic effect, with a menacing winged skull trailed by a flock of chaotic words, maniacally repeating the Polish word for birds - ptaki. The ominous flapping of letters and mishmash of various fonts engages the viewer with its synesthesia, explains graphic designed Sylwia Gižka. The empty wide field in the lower part of the composition enhances the effect of an emerging threat, as it is obvious that it will be inevitably filled with oncoming black wings. Although we are offered no literal indication of the content of the film, the ominous illustration communicates an unnerving sense of foreboding that reflects the visceral experience of the film itself. An example of this rare poster is held in the permanent collection of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York.
Conservation backed on linen in the European style with no restoration whatsoever. Backing has smoothed fold lines so that they are virtually invisible and diminished minor nicks and tears to edges (no larger than ¾in. Pinholes to lower corners and darkening to edges. Image and colour excellent.