A film still (sometimes called a publicity still or a production still) is a photograph taken on or off the set of a movie or television program during production. These photographs are also taken in formal studio settings and venues of opportunity such as film stars' homes, film debut events, and commercial settings. The photos were taken by studio photographers for promotional purposes. Such stills consisted of posed portraits, used for public display or free fan handouts, which are sometimes autographed. They can also consist of posed or candid images taken on the set during production, and may include stars, crew members or directors at work.
The main purpose of such publicity stills is to help studios advertise and promote their new films and stars. Studios therefore send those photos along with press kits and free passes to as many movie-related publications as possible so as to gain free publicity. Such photos were then used by newspapers and magazines, for example, to write stories about the stars or the films themselves. Hence, the studio gains free publicity for its films, while the publication gains free stories for its readers. ~ from Wikipedia
I invite you to read all the details on the Wikipedia site.
In that attempt to count them I'll focus on US promotional pictures. Some foreign countries (outside the USA) issued some promotional pictures, but they were merely reprints of US promotional pictures, with a different movie title and accompanying text.
A first I was simply delighted to have a few 5303-number promotional pictures. Then I realised, from the numbering scheme, that at least 100+ pictures were out there. While augmenting my collection, I got a few 5303-Xnumber pictures; pictures with "technical/making of" scenes. I don't know how many of them were released. Later on, among my collection of "portrait" or "landscape" pictures, I realised that some pictures were available in both formats, with the same reference number.
So at the end of it all, I assume there are roughly 200+ US promotional pictures available: 100+ "portrait" pictures, plus 100+ "landscape" pictures, plus an unknown number of "X"-numbered technical pictures.
They are very attracting for several reasons:
A film poster is a poster used to promote and advertise a film. Studios often print several posters that vary in size and content for various domestic and international markets. They normally contain an image with text. Today's posters often feature photographs of the main actors. Prior to the 1990s, illustrations instead of photos were far more common. The text on film posters usually contains the film title in large lettering and often the names of the main actors. It may also include a tagline, the name of the director, names of characters, the release date, etc.
Film posters are displayed inside and on the outside of movie theaters, and elsewhere on the street or in shops. The same images appear in the film exhibitor's pressbook and may also be used on websites, DVD (and historically VHS) packaging, flyers, advertisements in newspapers and magazines, etc.
Film posters have been used since the earliest public exhibitions of film. They began as outside placards listing the programme of (short) films to be shown inside the hall or movie theater. By the early 1900s, they began to feature illustrations of a film scene or an array of overlaid images from several scenes. Other posters have used artistic interpretations of a scene or even the theme of the film, represented in a wide variety of artistic styles. ~ from Wikipedia
I invite you to read all the details on the Wikipedia site
Apparently, the foreign distributors had a huge freedom with the posters. In most of these foreign (non US) countries, the movie poster bears no resemblance at all with the original US poster. It's both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because some of these new artworks are really well thought and executed; a curse because some of them are quite sloppy and uninspired, not to say ugly.
Lobby cards are similar to posters but smaller, usually 11 in x 14 in (28 cm x 36 cm), also 8 in x 10 in (20 cm x 25 cm) before 1930. Lobby cards are collectible and values depend on their age, quality, and popularity. Typically issued in sets of eight, each featuring a different scene from the film. In unusual circumstances, some releases were promoted with larger (12 cards) or smaller sets (6 cards). ~ from Wikipedia
I invite you to read all the details on the Wikipedia site
I belong to a generation which witnessed the emergence of Internet in the mid-90s. When I was a teenager, in the 80s, selecting a movie to go and see what very different. There was no YouTube, IMdB, dedicated web sites or apps. Nothing like that. To make a choice, you had consulted the newspapers and magazine reviews, you might had seen the trailer while watching another film in the movie theatre, you might have had advices from friends and family, but very importantly: you had the 10 or 12 lobby cards displayed inside the movie theatre lobby, the main hall, before the cashier. Eventually, in case of doubt, the lobby cards made you select a movie over another one.
Their number was quite limited, to be displayed in the lobby of the movie theatres. They were supposed to be teasing, to tempt you in. A smart selection which was enigmatic enough to pique your imagination to find out more, but not too much to spoil the suspense. So, in a way, they are a snapshot of the what the local distributor thought most appropriate to entice you to buy a ticket.
I had already scanned all of them in the past, but I rescanned everything in summer 2016 with my new scanner, much better than the previous models I used in the past.
I need to state that all the lobby cards reproduced on this site have been digitally "cleaned" and "restored" with appropriate photo editing tools. All my lobby cards are in excellent condition, but one can expect some yellowing of the paper after 50 years or so. The staple marks and other scratches were fixed. The supposedly-white part was whitened. The colour cards (USA, Mexico) were revived with more intense colours. The black and white cards (France, Germany, UK) were rejuvenated with darker black and bright whites. Extra care has been taken not to drown all details with excessive black levels.
I hope I got closer to the original lobby cards, in their 1963 pristine mint condition. But what you see here is not what you will get if you buy your own set of lobby cards.
If you wonder what the inspiration was for the green-tinted cards, then look no further: it comes directly from the superb US posters, mainly black and green.
The four intruders on a scientific investigation enter a long-unopened room and experience a gripping chill.
Thundering moans and horrible roars follow a screaming Julie Harris through menacing corridors.
Beautiful Claire Bloom reacts coldly to Russ Tamblyn, the conceited heir to the house of terror.
Reluctantly, a shattered Julie Harris leaves Hill House as Claire Bloom and Richard Johnson stay on.
Terrified, the intruders at Hill House listen to the shrieking and crashing of the unknown haunt.
Amid the gloom of Hill House, a shy and timid Julie Harris starts to fall in love with Richard Johnson.
The scene of suicide long ago holds strange fascination for Claire Bloom, Russ Tamblyn and Richard Johnson.
Julie Harris' mind begins to succumb to the terror of Hill House and her companions have cause to worry.
I like these very colourful, very large Mexican lobby cards. It makes me wonder about what the colourized version of the movie looks like.
These cards required a special treatment: their size is beyond the A3 format (a standard European size of paper, 420 x 297 mm) of my already very generously large scanner.
On the lower right side of each card, there is a text that reads:
¡En la casa misteriosa... los muertos están inquietos!
¿Quién podrá calmarlos?
¿Quien puede acallar los lamentos, los aterradores gritos, los ruidos escalofriantes?
Which can be translated as:
In the mysterious house ... the dead are restless!
What do they want?
Who can calm them down?
Who can silence the cries, the terrifying screams, the creepy noises?
France was very generously served with many cards! I still miss a few of them. Strangely, they are in landscape or portrait format. Mixing the orientation of the card is weird.
Furthermore, it's the only country where Grace Markways makes an appearance on the lobby cards.
I like the classic "not in the movie" promo picture of the team, in front of the house, all looking in the same direction. It is still very strange for me to realise that I actually slept in that room.
The German lobby cards are quite interesting too because they make a better use of the surface: the photo covers it all, with just a logo to mention the name of the movie.
There can't be an odd number of lobby cards, so I keep on looking.
In that set, I really like the one where Eleanor is sitting on the spiral staircase, with a strange look in the eye, staring at something.
This set also uses the classic "not in the movie" promo picture of the team, in front of the house, all looking in the same direction, this time with a wider frame.
MGM created promotional items both domestically (US) and internationally.
In the US, the campaign book is a "must have" in any serious collection. This 12-page extra-large booklet gathers and presents the movie, the actors but more importantly all the promotional material that can be used in the magazines and local newspapers, the various posters, some radio announcements (1m, 30s, 20s, 10s) and a few suggestions to create more buzz about the film.
I was able to buy local brochures and leaflets from France, Belgium, Germany and Japan (several of them). I assume other local promotional material does exist, maybe in the UK, Italy, Spain or South America (Mexico?). If you have other MGM official promotional material, I’ll be delighted to hear from you.
Mr Schifrin's contribution to the movie remains a total mystery to me. I've read in his Wikipedia article that he was under contract with MGM at that time. So, who asked Lalo Schifrin to get involved? Was it the MGM? Was it Robert Wise (I seriously doubt that)? Was it an initiative of Lalo Schifrin himself?
Fortunately — from my point of view — this material was not used in the movie. If you play it today, you will probably conclude that it was totally unfit and inappropriate for the tone of the movie. I wonder: did he really see the movie that he pretends inspired this?
According to the notes found in the FSM (Film Score Monthly) 5CD boxset "The Cincinnati Kid: Lalo Schifrin Film Scores, Vol. 1, 1964–1968":
"Electronic" stereo. Let me translate that for you: mixed in mono, and transformed into fake stereo with reverb and other tricks during mastering. The formless result spreads over the left & right channels, but no instrument will be perfectly positioned in the stereo space.
No, seriously. Humphrey Searle had composed a perfect film score that was used in the soundtrack of movie. Still, it was not commercially released and remains unavailable today. Instead, we've got this unrelated Lalo Schifrin material on vinyl (on several records) and CD. How infuriating!
7inch format: A 7inch single (MGM 1218) and a 7inch promo jukebox single (MGM K13163).
LP format: meaning that the theme track was coupled with many unrelated tracks.
CD format: The Cincinnati Kid: Lalo Schifrin Film Scores, Vol. 1 1964–1968 (6-3855-80282-2-3) a 5CD compilation.
Very surprisingly, the music score was allowed to use the movie logo (despite the fact that it is just "inspired by").