Hollywood Cliche’s


More articles by Otto Buj.  American; French; Polish

“Overcooked cliches for movie posters have been served up by Hollywood admen since the silent era. Pressured to appeal to as many potential ticket buyers as possible, studio posters played it safe by blowing up the head of a bankable celebrity or spotlighting a signature moment of romance or action. For that reason, the history of American poster design is dominated by endless tiresome formulas.”  From Otto Buj’s article Buy American, linked above.

French film poster design suffered a similar fate. Cinema was considered entertainment for the lower class in France and so the high poster art tradition of Lautrec and Cheret was reserved only for operas, cabarets and music halls. By the French point of view, only a safe and literal approach to film marketing would be understood by the lower classes.

Polish designers, on the other hand, rejected state imposed social-realism and drew upon the dark and obsessive tradition of Polish Romanticism. Poland enjoyed a “golden age of movie-poster design” from the 50’s to the mid 70’s. 

For your consideration I present this 1963 Polish film poster for Hitchcock’s The Birds, designed by  Bronislaw Zelek. Notice the complete absence of celebrity cameos.

The Birds


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