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Flashcards in Stardom Deck (25):

star persona

constructed phenomenon through a combination of textual, intertextual + extratextual materials
•Name has connotations: series of values, identities, attitudes
•image constructed as it circulates through culture + comes to accrue connotations that exceed the actual person



for many ppl they know James Dean as Jim Stark
•Overidentified with this character
•This character defines his persona



largely determined by traits, acts that recur across their body of work
more emphasized



blatant obvious recurring elements



fan magazines, fan clubs, promotion, news stories, interviews
serves to flesh out
•Performances that promise to complete the star persona



can overwhelm intertextual
•Jane Fonda became very politically involved, became more well known for her protest against the vietnam war
•Enormous infrastructure that emphasizes extratextual
•Angelina Jolie known more for good will + Charlie Sheen known for drugs
•Kim K + Paris Hilton famous for being famous


Cary Grant

•Extratextual + intertextual
•His Girl Friday, Bringing Out Baby, Charade, Bringing Up Baby
•Connections among his performances


Stars as commodities

promise of their image attracts many viewers to their films
•Hollywood has come to depend upon and in turn cultivate star power
•Tend to focus on technological apparatus rather than labourers: Appeal had to do with technology not the people involved
•Eventually, when chief concern was who was on screen, they were interested in making their names public


Star system

•Assisted in sales of films
•It was an image of the actors that was sold
•Close up became the thing that allowed cinema to sell actors
•Starpower to sell products


Classical era - Hollywood studios

•Devoted entire publicity departments
•Forged relationships with magazines + gossip columns
•Goal was to construct Hollywood star as righteous
ensured that the stars they had under contract were perceived as moral, coherent, and glamorous
•Commision petitioned Hollywood to change its ways


Production codes

banned certain content on screen + actors functioned as emmisaries (trust, loyalty + admiration)
•Intertextual + extratextual need to reinforce each other


dissolution of the studio system = new type of star

•Less clean + less glamorous, harder to pin point
use of independent publicists: Once more independent then reputation wasn’t as important
lessening of constraints on actors: Greater flexibility - more experimental/ecclectic


dissolution of the studio system = new type of star

rise of Method acting: Devote attention to stylizing speech, gesture
•Method actor: profound emotional truth, inhabiting psychological state + allowing improv to be included in performance
•Daniel Day Lewis, Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Jane Fonda


dissolution of the studio system = new type of star

popularity of social realism: heightened naturalism
•Depended on characters more ordinary, normal rather than glamorous figures


Stars in Cultural Terms

function as distinct social types that characterize/respond to historical moment + geographic site of their emergence


Stars in Cultural Terms

typically speak to ambiguities, contradictions + instabilities that characterize a culture and/or embody values of a culture (be it the dominant culture or some counter- culture)


John Ellis: photo effect - stars both ordinary + exceptional

•We tend to negotiate identities vis a vis stars
•Magazines: stars are just like us
•not like us: no one cares about the way that I’m just like them, unattainable


John Ellis: photo effect - stars both inspire introjection + projection

•through projection: we project onto the stars our wishes
•we live vicariously through them
•introjection: we incorporate, we imitate them
•people can also reject stars + use that a way of negotiating identity


Stars in Textual Terms

how they function intertextually + extratextually: persona they bring to a role
•Brings baggage of persona which can influence how their performances + characters are read
•Consistent personnas by playing same general type of character


Stars in Textual Terms

•Worry less about establishing the star’s character
•The audience would already understand the character + bring with them expectations predicated on previous films


Playing with/against type

•Playing with type: limited range dictated by previous work
•Against type: defying audience expectations, can unsettle spectator, can be used for humourous effect


Playing with/against type

•Always a risk to playing against type: always aware of how strange it is, not buying it
•Losing ability to be absorbed in the film
two options play with viewer expectations in different ways


photo effect

-paradox absence that is presence
-star as object of desire
-presence masquerading absence
-promise of presence of certain star
-desiree stays constant, deferred


Cary Grant

symbollic castration
30s-40s screwball
50s thrillers
50s: cold war - construction of masculinity - Kinsey Reports: peaks of sexuality
masquerade: feminine masculinity made desirable


Cary Grant

bachelor playboy - verility + immaturity
-framed within context of masculine virility
married + divorced 2x
not married, no kids = immaturity
narratives of him settling down