Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.
A lot of the images have come from other web sites. The name of the web site is given where known. If I have unintentionally included an image or document that is copyrighted or that I shouldn't have done then please email me and I'll remove it.
I make no money from this site, it's purely for the love of the films.
It has been suggested that I should make a few notes about collecting studio stills as I appear to have gathered quite a few over the years.
Studio Stills are printed on a 10" x 8" format and are intended for publicising the film. As we are dealing mainly with still from the Powell & Pressburger films here I can add that The Archers often used very good stills photographers (Powell was a stills photographer for Rex Ingram and for Hitchcock) and they gave the stills photographers excellent access to the cast, crew and during the filming, not just for posed photographs. The studio stills for the Archers films are all in black & white - even when the film itself is in colour. This is not a disadvantage. They can be just as beautiful and artistic as the equivalent scene from the film. B&W photography (or cinematography) is as much an art form as colour photography - just a slightly different one. The creator of the image is just looking for different things.
The first rule is that there are no definite rules!
All I can do is to offer some guidelines as to what you should look out for. Of course original stills are worth a lot more than reproductions. There were many more American stills than British stills for any film - all those US theatres to advertise the film in, plus wartime restrictions on materials in Britain during and just after the war meant that not so many were made.
The main things to look for are:
- Is it British or American?
- American stills tend to have film and studio details along the bottom border. This means that the actual image must be reduced in size a little. This is often done proportionally (the left & right borders are wider) but may just be cropped at the top or bottom.
- British stills tend to have a narrow white border (sometimes with a slightly ragged edge). They can also sometimes be not quite square on the paper.
- Is it an original?
Not always easy to tell. It's hard to say for certain that a still is an original. Various indications can be used to identify a reproduction but it could be a very good reproduction. The studio stills tend to be very high quality. So if they've been looked after properly (kept out of direct sunlight etc) they can last a long time in almost pristine condition.
Equally, signs of ageing give an indication that it is an original still, but make sure that any signs of ageing, fading, folds or scratches don't suddenly stop at the white border. If they do it's almost certainly a reprint of an older still.
One clue can be the studio reference number, usually put onto the negative to appear on the print as a white code number. It'll be in the lower left or lower right corner. These will have a code for the film (e.g. AMOLAD is "103(IP)") then dash, then the number for the still. I say "number" but they often have a letter after the number. Although they appear to be applied by hand they should appear quite sharp. If the studio reference appears to be blurred then it's a photo of the original photo and wasn't quite in focus.
The other clue is the type and quality of the 'paper' that it is printed on. It's hard to describe in words but you soon get a feel for the right paper and can then detect when any are printed onto cheaper paper.
- Has it been cropped?
Sometimes, somebody may take a liking to just one part of the still and either physically cut out that part (sacrilege!) or take a close up photo of just part of it, then blow up that photo so that it's back at the original 10x8 size.
To detect this the studio reference numbers can be useful again. If they appear larger than on other stills for the same film or are missing, then the original still has been cropped.
- What's on the back?
Often the back of a still is an indication to it's age. As the back isn't particularly protected it can often show signs of ageing, scratches, photo editors notes etc that won't be seen on the front.
Some stills can also have the studio stamp or a typed note (snipe) describing the still, glued to the back. These are more often to be found on British studio stills.
A table of the codes for each film:
Something Always Happens (1934) 154 - ## The Night of the Party (1935) 24 - ## The Phantom Light (1935) P.L.157. P ## The Price of a Song (1935) 608 - ## Crown Vs. Stevens (1937) 181 - ## The Spy in Black (1939) HP 2 ## Contraband (1940) C-## The Thief of Bagdad (1940) AK 02 ## 49th Parallel (1941)
aka The Invaders
OF1 - ##
One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942) AK-1-## The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) M-P-M 3-## A Canterbury Tale (1944) CT-## I Know Where I'm Going! (1945) I.P.L.24 - ## A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
aka Stairway to Heaven
103(A) - ## Black Narcissus (1947) 114 (IP)-## The End of the River (1947) 117 (IP)-## The Red Shoes (1948) 136(IP)-## The Small Back Room (1949) BL9/## Gone to Earth (1950) BL12 - ## The Elusive Pimpernel (1950)
aka The Fighting Pimpernel
DPI/PORT ## or
The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) BL19 - ## The Wild Heart (1952) GB-## The Battle of the River Plate (1956)
aka Graf Spee
290 - ## Ill Met by Moonlight (1957)
aka Night Ambush
303P ## or
303 - ##
Miracle in Soho (1957) 307 ## Luna de Miel (1959)
H - ## Peeping Tom (1960) PT-## They're a Weird Mob (1966) TAWM - ## Age of Consent (1969) 3 digit number along
the bottom edge
The '##' represents the numbers (& sometimes letters) for each picture in the series
More to be added as I find them.