Book Review: Hollywood Movie Stills (new edition)



Just Frankenstein (Boris Karloff) eating lunch.

As a kid I used to go skim through my father’s books on old Hollywood. My imagination would run wild looking at the memorable faces and events in film history. A simple black and white image can say so much about a movie, the time and the people of a certain era, it’s a wonderful history lesson that anyone can take part in.

With Hollywood Movie Stills, my recent book review for City of Films, I had the pleasure of going through some of the most unique images I have ever seen of the film industry. Cinema’s most memorable events and faces are all here in a detailed coffee table size book that you won’t be able to put down.

It traces the origin of stills photography during the silent era and the early development of the star system, through to the rise of the giant studios in the 1930s and their eventual decline. Author Joel Finler focuses on the photographers, the stars they photographed, and the films and film-makers.  Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, and Clark Gable just to name a few, and that’s just one page!



Would you mess with the Bogey man?

Hollywood Movie Stills has hundreds of rare and unusual stills from Finler’s own collection; he has behind-the-scenes photos, posters, trick shots and more. Each page of illustrations is accompanied with stories and insight, sometimes about a stars more private life (think TMZ in 1930).

If you want to look at hundreds of great stills, this book is for you. If you want to read about the history of stills photography from practitioners of the art including their methods and experiences, you have a great lesson here too. It’s well written and who knows, maybe one day your kids will be skimming through this one.

Hollywood_Movie_StillsHollywood Movie Stills: Art and Technique in the Golden Age of the Studios
Author: Joel W Finler

Hardback: 224 pages with B/W photos
Publisher: Titan Books; New edition (June 5, 2012)


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