1) Many of the older style "glamour"/cinema- type pictures have a diffusion effect done either at the taking or printing stage. This tends to give the tonality a kind of glowing quality.
2) Make sure you look at original prints, not high quality reproductions. I know this might sound counterintuitive but it has a real impact. For example, when I first became serious about photography and printing, much of my influence came from the incredibly silvery, amazingly sharp duotone reproductions of Ansel Adams's pictures found in his books, and even on authorized AA calendars and posters (usually published by Little Brown). I saw similar silvery tones in reproductions of some other photographers' works. It was frustrating. I thought there had to be an extra secret beyond printing skill and large format film. My wise father kept telling me "Wait until you see real prints by Adams. They don't look quite like that.". I have to say he was right. When I finally saw real prints by Adams, Weston and others, they were indeed beautiful, but not what I had expected. They didn't have quite the silvery look I had become so used to seeing in books.
thanks, I was kinda expecting someone to come along and say that - thus ruining my innocences forever...
Well, don't worry, I'm in the minority on that position. Most people feel the opposite way. They see a reproduction or a negative scan or something, and they say "wow, I'll bet the real print looks even better!". I'm not sure what they're seeing other than the obvious tactile quality of an original print.
But then comes the real magic - printing. Film developing is a fairly standard process, while printing time is when you want to bring out your full arsenal of tools, and continue to learn more as you go. It takes a lot of skill to make pictures like the ones you reference, and I doubt very much that most of the resulting quality is due to a particular film or paper, but rather experience and a really keen eye.
Funny you mention it. Last night I was going to print a negative wich I had scanned earlier. It was easy to scan and easy to edit. I therefore had a clearly previsualised image in my head before the printing session. But there was absolutely no chance to get it even a bit similar, it wasn't miles away from my previsualisation, more like lightyears. So I said to myself "Okay, put the negative back in the archive and try again in a year or two when you've got more experience.".
Be careful about comparing images from movies to prints. Movies are made to be projected, and therefore are inherently more likely to appear "silvery". Prints have to rely on the reflectance of paper.
This was shot using modern film, and developed in a modern developer. Any "silver" comes from the lighting, and (in this case) the scan + post-processing (although the contact print looks similar):
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I think we should get a like, or "hear hear" button (and to be different perhaps a thumbs down) on APUG. Having (re)started my (new) darkroom only recently (last summer) and slowly (re)discovering all the parameters and techniques and having a great time, whenever Thomas writes there is knowledge to be had. I was slowly coming to the same conclusions as above. Now its confirmed. Thanks!