Movie stills

CityLights1.pngCity Lights
ThinMan2.pngThin Man


Search (e.g., Bogart or 1968; no spaces):

From 1973 through 1976, while I worked at the Festival Cinema in Palo Alto, I bought a lot of movie-related material, mostly books, posters, and stills. (And even a genuine Maltese Falcon, the stuff dreams are made of, though shockingly it turned out to be a plaster fake.) In January 2011, I resurrected my stills collection from the back of my office closet to digitize them for this page. I plan to digitize my posters too, but that will require photos rather than scans; in the meantime, my movie posters page contains a partial list of my posters, without images. I'll let Google digitize the books.

My collection contains 256 stills from 150 films by 92 directors. Some of my favorites are at the top and bottom of this page. I've seen almost all of the movies.

I haven't bought any stills since 1976, so this collection reflects my cinematic taste of the time: Bergman, Bogart, Chapin, Fellini, Griffith, Hawks, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Renoir, Truffaut, Welles; round up the usual suspects. It also reflects what was available then from vendors on my very limited budget; sadly no Keaton, not enough Ford, and many lesser works of great directors rather than their masterpieces. Vendors sold stills by title, unseen by the buyer, so sometimes a purchase was disappointing (Passage to Marseille shows none of the stars, and I got Red Skelton's The Clown when I expected Fellini's The Clowns, though it's a great still). How I ended up with The Barretts of Wimpole Street or a 10-still set of Bardot in Babette Goes to War is a total mystery to me now, many decades later.

Stills are 8"x10" except as noted, almost all in black and white, a few in color. I scanned the stills at 300 dpi in color, as I find the yellowing of the older b+w stills evocative. Most of the b+w stills are high quality glossy prints, while most of the few color prints have terrible image quality (good color prints were expensive). A few stills are bizarrely colorized (movie made in b+w but color added to the stills), such as The Importance of Being Earnest and The Birds. In many cases I find b+w stills from color movies unsettling, they just seem wrong to me (e.g., Yellow Submarine).

Many stills are from rereleases, not from the original release. None of the stills are very old (compared to me, at least), but at least a dozen predate my 1947 initial release. The oldest stills with a certain date are Waikiki Wedding from 1943 (its origin is another mystery) and two National Velvet stills from 1944. The undated still from The Informer, stamped with NSS number "35 216", might be the oldest, though I doubt that it dates from 1935. The newest stills are from 1975.

Columns in the stills list:

This page is dedicated to all my old friends from the Festival Cinema, in memory of a crazy and wonderful place and time. I'll get around to writing a Festival Cinema web page one of these days. And thanks to IMDB, invaluable for tracking down the dates and credits. [Quibble: IMDB needs more photos of non-current actors!]

Corrections and comments are welcome!

Birds3.pngThe Birds
BigSleep1.pngThe Big Sleep
Griffith.pngD.W. Griffith
Killing.pngThe Killing
DinnerAtEight.pngDinner at Eight