Stills

THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS: THE STILLS

In the 1940s when a film was made at a major studio—and this holds true even today— for publicity purposes photographs or “stills” were prepared.  These include formal photographs of the stars taken in a photography studio often dressed as their characters and more often than not photographed prior to the picture going into production. Some of these have no relation to the film but are just a head shot of a star and could be used to publicize a film.   For example, the Orson Welles head shots were prepared when he came to RKO and were used to publicize both CITIZEN KANE and THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS.  Photographs are then taken of the film in production showing the director, technical people, etc. in the process of making the movie. Finally photographs are taken on the set which attempt to duplicate as best as possible in still photographs the scenes being shot by the film camera. To do this the still photographers will often stand beside the camera and take their photographs before and after a scene is photographed or during camera rehearsals. Again, this is done to make the still photograph as close a representation of a filmed scene as possible.

The formal studio photographs were usually distributed to publications before and after a film goes into production in order to create an awareness with the general public of the movie and its cast. The production photos are often used in pre-release publicity prepared for general interest and trade publications.  The final set of photographs, the ones that attempt to duplicate the motion picture’s frames are distributed when the film is released and are seen by the public in displays prepared by theaters playing the film as well as well as in  general publications including reviews.   The final set of stills eventually find their way into film journals and various book publications decades after the film’s release. These photographs are also included in what is known as a press kit—along with studio prepared literature on the film, so that reviewers and anyone writing about the film can have at their fingertips information about actors, the plot and various other facts related to the film.  Included in a press kits is a selection of photos can be published.

To the best of my knowledge the complete studio  set of photographic stills for THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS comprised 275 numbered photographs. This master set was prepared after filming was completed.  Before that, stills – some of which were omitted from the studio set – called candids and production stills were sent out to various publications to promote the film and, so, were numbered differently and never on the still itself.  Example of these numberings are B4273-3 or N4237-1.    Therefore, there could be as many as 400 – or perhaps even more – stills for the film.  What I have here is every still that I could find and, trying to be as complete as possible, 14 were scanned from publications and therefore there is a noticeable loss in quality.  In addition,  I have organized this material first by Photography Studio  (OW, JC, TH , AB, DC.) and (MA-ADV), second by production (MA-PUB-A) and finally press kit (MA-). At the end of this collection is a rare set of ‘The Star At Home’ photos taken of Dolorous Costello (DC-) at the time she signed with RKO for THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS. These photos were usually used in the Fan Magazines.

The still numbers here are not to be confused with the  sets of stills distributed to theaters. They had their own numbering and included various stills from the original studio set.   This is a reason why many stills do not have the original numbers as they were removed for this “theater set” which did not have their identification number on the still itself but below to the right of the film’s title.   As theaters were required to purchase these stills, few returned them to the studio and, over the years they became available to collectors.    For this site I have tried my best to locate and organize AMBERSON s stills  by their original studio identification numbers and, when I couldn’t find  one, I placed the still nearest photographs from the same scene or performer.

What is of interest  is that the Press Kit or “MA” still-set photographs, contain stills from almost every scene deleted from the 131 minute “rough Cut”  and even scenes that  Welles cut from his  “rough cut” and, so,  are the only representations of these lost scenes that we have. (Welles did have a set of frame enlargements but most of these are now lost. )  There is a reason for this.  The complete studio set was compiled for the film’s planned April 1942  release, therefore much of this material were sent out to publications for articles written for that April release.  Therefore  these articles contain stills from scenes that do not exist in the film’s release version.  In fact, many of the stills for deleted scenes have found their way into subsequent articles, advertisements and even Home Video packaging.

 

ORSON WELLES 50

ORSON WELLES 51

ORSON WELLES 52

ORSON WELLES 53b

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RAY COLLINS B Series (B41813-0)

RAY COLLINS 4G

RAY COLLINS 7G
RAY COLLINS 9C

TIM HOLT 19

TIM HOLT 30

TIM HOLT 255

TIM HOLT

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ANN BAXTER B Series (B4246-9)

ANN BAXTER

ANN BAXTER 4C

ANN BAXTER 5C

ANN BAXTER 8C

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ANN BAXTER 15C

ANN BAXTER 38C

ANN BAXTER 41C

ANN BAXTER 48C

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DOLORES COSTELLO 9B

MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS ADV 1

MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS ADV 3

MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS ADV 4

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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS ADV 6

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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS ADV 8

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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS ADV 18
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS ADV 27
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS ADV 29
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS ADV 47
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS ADV 49
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS ADV 50
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS ADV 51
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ORSON WELLES 93a
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A3
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ORSON WELLES 95a
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A5
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A6
ORSON WELLES 97a
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A7
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A9
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A10
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A11
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A12
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A13

 

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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A16
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A17
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A18
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A19
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A21
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A23
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A25
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A27
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A28
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A29
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A30
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A31
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A32
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A33
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A34
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A35
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A36
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A38
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A39
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A40
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A42
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A43
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A44
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A45
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A46
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A47
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A48
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A49
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A50
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A51
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS B Series (B42323-5)
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A54
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS R Series
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A55
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A56
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A57
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A58
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A59
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A60
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A61

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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A62
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A63
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A64
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A65
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A66
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A69
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A70
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A71
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A73
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A74
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A75
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A76
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A77
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS B Series (B42325-7)
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A79
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A80
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A81
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A82
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB B Series
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A83
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A84
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A85
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A86
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS N Series (N4273-1)
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS N Series (N4273-5)
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A90
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A91
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A92

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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS R Series

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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A96
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A97
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A99
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A100
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (ASE 39)
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A101
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS B Series (B42325-6)
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A103
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A104
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A105
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A106
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A107
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A108
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A109
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS PUB A110
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 1
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 1B
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 2
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 3
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 4
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 5
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 6
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 7
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 8
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 9
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 15
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 24
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 25
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 26
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 27
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 28
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 29
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 30
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 31
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 32
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 34
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 35
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 40
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 41
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 42
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 44
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 44
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 45
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 46
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 46b
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 47
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 48
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 49
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 50
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 52
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 56
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 57
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 60
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 61
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 62
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 63
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 64
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 66
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 67
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS B Series (B4235-5)
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (340-00)
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 70
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 71
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 72
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 73
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 75
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 76
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 77
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 78
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 80
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 81
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS 82
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 83
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 84
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 85
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 86
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 87
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 89
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 90
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 91
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 92
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 99
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 101
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 103
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 105
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 106
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 111
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 112
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 114
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 115
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 117
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MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON 122
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DOLORES COSTELLO 25b
DOLORES COSTELLO 28b
DOLOROS COSTELLO 28b
DOLORES COSTELLO 29b
DOLORES COSTELLO 30b
DOLORES COSTELLO 32b
DOLORES COSTELLO 33b
DOLORES COSTELLO 34b
DOLORES COSTELLO 35b
DOLORES COSTELLO 37b
DOLORES COSTELLO 38B
DOLORES COSTELLO 39B
DOLORES COSTELLO 40B
DOLORES COSTELLO 45B
DOLORES COSTELLO 46B
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THE PRINT MEDIA AND AMBERSON STILLS
The Contemporary publications below are an example of how AMBERSONS stills were used to publicize  THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS during it’s initial release.    As you will notice, several of the articles include stills from scenes removed from the release print.  Since it was initially planned that a fined tuned version of Welles rough cut would be released in April 1942,  the RKO publicity department pushed for these stories to appear in conjunction with that aborted pril release.   I have included the complete Photoplay article as it summarizes the film’s screenplay and not the theatrical cut of the film.
AMBERSON STILLS 76 YEARS LATER
Over 70 years after THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS was originally released magazine and newspaper articles continue to appear about the film utilizing AMBERSONS stills.  Below are two examples.  Of note is that in both examples, stills from cut scenes are used.
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