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Film Stardom, Myth and Classicism: The Rise of Hollywood's Gods

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Film Stardom, Myth and Classicism: The Rise of Hollywood's Gods Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Since the golden era of silent movies stars have been described as screen gods, goddesses and idols. But why did Hollywood, that most modernity industry, first look back to antiquity as it built its stars? This book presents a unique insight into the origins of screen stardom in the 1910s and 20s to explore how the myth and iconography of ancient Greece and Rome was deployed to create modern Apollo and Venuses of the screen. Drawing from extensive research into studio production files, fan-magazines and the popular reception of stars in America and Britain, this study explores how the sculptural gods of the past enabled the flickering shadows on the screen to seem more present and alive. Classicism permitted films to encode different sexualities for their audience, and present stars who embodied traditions of the Grand Tour for a post-war context where the ruins of past civilisations had become strangely resonant. The book presents detailed discussion of leading players such as Ramon Novarro, Greta Garbo and Rudolph Valentino, and major films such as Ben-Hur and Flesh and the Devil to show how classicism enabled star discourse to transform actors into icons. This is the story of how Olympus moved to Hollywood to divinise stars as icons for a modern age and defined a model of stardom that is still with us today.

About the Author

MICHAEL WILLIAMS is senior lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Southampton, UK. He is author of Ivor Novello: Screen Idol, and is co-editor of British Silent Cinema and the Great War published by Palgrave Macmillan. He has also written on stardom; film and antiquity, British cinema; landscape, sexuality and the heritage film.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Olympus Moves to Hollywood

PART I: CHARTING THE FIRMAMENT

Shadows of Desire: War, Youth and the Classical Vernacular

Swanson Venus and Apollo Arlen: Sculpting the Star Body

PART II: FLIGHTS TO ANTIQUITY

The Flight to Antiquity

Ben-Hur (Fred Niblo, 1925) and the Idolisation of Ramon Novarro

PART III: UNDYING PASTS

'The Undying Past': Flesh and the Devil (Clarence Brown, 1926).

'A Monument to Youth and Romance': The Death of Rudolph Valentino

Conclusion: The End of the Golden Age?

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780230355446
Author:
Williams, Michael
Publisher:
Palgrave MacMillan
Subject:
Film - General
Subject:
Film & Video - History & Criticism
Subject:
Film and Television-History and Criticism
Subject:
Acting & Auditioning
Subject:
Film & Video - Reference
Publication Date:
20121231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
22 b/w photos
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.43 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Acting
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » History and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Reference
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine

Film Stardom, Myth and Classicism: The Rise of Hollywood's Gods New Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Palgrave MacMillan - English 9780230355446 Reviews:
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