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Film stardom, myth and classicism: The Rise of Hollywood's Gods

Film stardom, myth and classicism: The Rise of Hollywood's Gods
Film stardom, myth and classicism: The Rise of Hollywood's Gods
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 build 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 Greek and Roman 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 in 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
978–0–230–35544–6
Palgrave Macmillan
Williams, Michael
fdd5b778-38f1-4529-b99c-9d41ab749576
Williams, Michael
fdd5b778-38f1-4529-b99c-9d41ab749576

Williams, Michael (2013) Film stardom, myth and classicism: The Rise of Hollywood's Gods , Basingstoke, GB. Palgrave Macmillan, 264pp.

Record type: Book

Abstract

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 build 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 Greek and Roman 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 in 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

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Published date: 2013
Additional Information: Due for publication 31 October 2012
Organisations: Film

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Local EPrints ID: 337680
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/337680
ISBN: 978–0–230–35544–6
PURE UUID: 0c611363-31b0-44bb-9eea-49ba656a818c

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Date deposited: 02 May 2012 11:18
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 06:01

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