the Looniverse

Movie Stills

and how to make them

all movie photos on this page © 1974 by Harrie Verstappen
all rights reserved
copyright notice

Those stills used for movie publicity in newspaper and magazines are not just a punishment from the guys upstairs to make mankind sorry for its sinful errings. No sir, just like the books and magazines published by the P.G. Wodehouse character Lord Tilbury, they were manufactured on purpose. Those who have bothered to give it any thought at all, mostly have a vague idea that they were taken from the motion picture negative.

All this, like most things in life and especially in show-biz, is more complicated than it might seem judging from the mostly pretty silly results. I have taken pity and split it all up in different sections:

the technique
describing the means used: light, lens, camera, film

the routine
how to go about doing it

the psychology of the movie still
what makes a photograph look like a movie still

a few examples
these look like stills... feel like stills... but actually, they are no such things
matter of fact, I stole the book containing them from the set of Pastorale 1943
out of the bookcase of a supposed intellectual, but who can read those titles anyway?
Oxford University Press would be ashamed to publish a book like that these days—
full of per se suspicious Chinks and just so automatically disreputable South Americans
The Star of the Incas by Peter Blundell — illustrations by Alfred Sindall, 1936

Star of the Incas
There came a roar, a blinding flash
that seemed to split the sky

Star of the IncasStar of the IncasStar of the Incas
The boat's coming! Keep cool!
Geoff shouted
Geoff raised his revolver

The surprise and the steam
worked miracles
the spoilers
How Not to Do It.
Not even the most stupid Ay-rab terrorist asshole will imagine
he has a chance with his knife at the Christian Unbeliever
safely behind the windscreen of a LandRover.

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copyright notice
all photos, except where noted
copyright © 1974 by , curaçao
all rights reserved
reproduction in any form for any purpose is prohibited
without prior consent in writing