Andrew Spicer
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Iconic star
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Both Chapters 7 and 8 are less concerned with the economic aspects of Connery’s career than its cultural significance, exploring the processes through which he became an iconic star. Chapter 7 notes that very few stars achieve iconic status, building on Edgar Morin’s explanation of film stars’ mythic function. Iconicity is discussed at length because the term is used promiscuously and as an attribute rather than a process, one that is both transcendent but also deeply embedded in particular contexts. Although the chapter ranges over Connery’s entire career, its principal focus is on the 1990s when it was widely acknowledged that Connery had attained legendary status. The chapter argues that his embodiment of myth figures – such as King Arthur in First Knight (1995) – now has an emblematic status; DragonHeart (1996) was a full-length filmic homage to Connery using images from his previous films to animate the movements of the dragon that Connery voices. Both films end elegiacally, and the chapter discusses the ways in which this meshed with a succession of public accolades – including three ‘lifetime achievement’ awards, tributes, festschrifts and hagiographic documentaries – that contributed to Connery’s construction as ‘last star of Hollywood’s Golden Age’. This construction of Connery’s iconicity shows the power of cultural processes in shaping a star’s career, part of the ‘prestige economy’ that operates separately from commercial logics although the results serve to enhance a star’s status and thus the salary they can command.

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Sean Connery

Acting, stardom and national identity

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