I've felt like a kid in a candy store as I've discovered all these old archived pictures, and according to the following excerpt about the author (Randor Guy), they are indeed rare: "Randor Guy is no ordinary film historian-his writing skill, his photographic memory of incidents and their details, his intimate friendship with so many celebrities and the world of movies is a story in itself. It is, thus, only fitting that he chronicles and remarks on 40 most memorable movies and 40 most fascinating stars of Tamil cinema, spanning the period of 75 years. Embellished by the rarest of photographs (many provided from his private collection), your journey in the next few pages is going to be as mesmerising as it will be poignant."
What was really fascinating to me was the mention of the American Tamil filmmaker Ellis R. Dungan, pictured in the fifth scan below. According to this article on him from the Ohio County Public Library, he was a white University of Southern California student who took a job offer at a startup film studio in Bombay, fell in love with India, and ended up staying there for over 15 years and "worked with India's greatest movie stars and created 17 films in the Tamil and Hindi languages, including 12 of feature length." Would love to know more about him!
I also was amused by the description of Minnal Kodi as one of the first action-stunt films in Tamil, starring "stunt queen of her day, K.T. Rukmini [...][who] plays an elusive female bandit dressed in man's clothes."
Enjoy the scans!
Seetha Kalyanam (1933)
Bhama Vijayam (1934), Menaka (1935)
Naveena Sarangadhara (1936), Chintamani (1937), Ambikapathi (1937)
Bala Yogini (1937), Minnal Kodi (1937), Seva Sadanam (1938)
Thyaga Bhoomi (1939), Sakunthalai (1940)
Songs from Sakunthalai:
Savithri (1941), Kannagi (1942), Apoorva Sahotharargal (1949)
Manthiri Kumari (1950), Marmayogi (1951)
Full Manthiri Kumari film
Parasakthi (1952), Avvaiyar (1953)