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Illustrated Glossary

Newspaper photo of Astaire

Clippings: Clippings Files are collections of published materials about films or persons. Please note that the Clippings Files are not always exhaustive.

This clipping from the Fred Astaire Clippings File reads, "Fred is the greatest little worrier in town." Like many of our clippings, it is in poor physical condition and bears few markers of provenance.

Colorful paper doll book featuring Grant

Items: Items are graphics and objects (stills excluded) that lend themselves to exhibitions. A list of the Center's Item Files can be downloaded in PDF form.

This Cary Grant paper doll is among the materials held in the Center's Item Files.

Vincent Price, The Tingler logo

Lobby Cards: Often released in 8-card sets, lobby cards are small format posters (usually 11"x14") used for promotion by film exhibitors.

This example from The Tingler was, like most lobby cards, printed from a black-and-white photograph and then "colorized" with additional layers of colored ink. (As a result, some lobby card images are "off-register.")

Lots: Lot Files contain flat graphics related to the Center's collection that cannot be classified by title or personal name. A list of the Center's Lot Files can be downloaded in PDF form.
Negatives: Photographic negatives. Negatives must be viewed as such, but can be reproduced as positive images. Though their contents sometimes overlap, the photographs held as negatives are often different from those held in the stills collection for a given person or title.
OV: Oversize. Usually indicates that the materials contained in the file are larger than 8.5"x11".
Personal photographs: Photographs taken by an individual for personal, rather than commercial, reasons.
Gold Diggers of 1937 poster options

Posters: Posters made for the promotion of one or more films. Standard American poster sizes are half-sheets (22"x28"), one-sheets (27"x40"), two-sheets (41x54"), and three-sheets (41x81"). We ask that, whenever possible, patrons consult lobby cards and/or pressbooks in lieu of posters because of the size and fragility of the posters in our collection.

This page from the Gold Diggers of 1937 pressbook displays several poster choices for sale to interested exhibitors.

Pressbook - Gold Diggers of 1937, red text on gold.

Pressbooks: Pressbooks were publications issued to exhibitors that offered suggestions for the advertisement of given films and that served as catalogs for publicity materials—like lobby cards and posters—produced by the studios.

The pressbook for Gold Diggers of 1937 featured in this slideshow is one of the most exhaustive, and visually stunning examples, in the Center's collections.

Stills: Defined broadly, stills are simply photographs. Photographs in the Center's still collection may include production, publicity and scene stills, formal and candid portraits, and in some cases, photographic reproductions of designs for sets, costumes, and/or publicity. Most stills measure 8"x10". Stills larger than 8.5"x11" are housed in our oversize (OV) files.

These slideshows showcase highlights from the stills files for the films Foreign Correspondent and Citizen Kane, the television production The Ed Sullivan Show, and the plays Design for Living and Hamlet.

Man being shot in black and white film

Production Stills: Production stills are photographs taken during the production of film or television work, which document the making of that work.

This production still taken during filming of Errol Morris's The Thin Blue Line reveals one of the camera's positions in the cop shooting scene.

Humphrey Bogart, at desk with phone and cigarette

Publicity Stills: The term publicity still is used to refer to photographs intended to promote a particular production or star. Publicity still may be considered a more general term than production or scene still, or may include only those images which are neither production nor scene stills.

This example from The Maltese Falcon Film Title File dramatically captures the film's themes and basic narrative, but was staged specifically for this publicity photograph.

Wong performing in gown.

Scene Stills: Scene stills are photographs of film scenes. Some are taken by still photographers on set; others are blown up from the moving picture frame itself. Scene stills taken by still photographers have better image resolution; frame enlargements are more faithful to the film work.

This scene still features Anna May Wong in the role of Tu Tuan in Limehouse Blues (1934).

Subject Files: Subject files are composed of highlights from the WCFTR stills collection organized by subject for exhibition purposes. This slideshow features images drawn from the Pets, Advertising and Exploitation, Family Life, and Production Still Subject Files. A list of the Center's Subject Files can be downloaded (PDF).


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