this instance, would seem to indicate the continuing cultural potency of this category of being; cinema, in Christine Gledhill’s words, ‘still provides the ultimate confirmation of stardom’ ( 1991 : xiii). Nevertheless, we will also examine recent shifts in the balance of power between film stars and stars in other domains, including sport.
The political economy of stardom
Writing about Prince as an example of crossover between the film and music industries, Lisa Taylor rejects two well-established approaches to starstudy. Both ethnographic surveys
Few screen icons have provoked as much commentary, speculation and adulation as the 'she' of this plaudit, Catherine Deneuve. This book begins with a brief overview of Deneuve's career, followed by a critical survey of the field of theoretical star studies, highlighting its potential and limitations for European, and particularly French, film scholarship. It argues the need for the single-star case study as a model for understanding the multiple signifying elements of transnational stardom. Her first role, at the age of 13, was a brief appearance as a schoolgirl in André Hunebelle's Collégiennes/The Twilight Girls. It was in 1965 that Roman Polanski would cast Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion, described by one critic as a 'one-woman show' in a role that would effectively create a persona which would resonate throughout her future film career. The darker shades of the Deneuve persona are in even greater evidence in Tristana. Demy's Donkey Skin is arguably an equal source of the tale's iconic status in France today, and largely because of Deneuve. The book also investigates films of the 1970s; their role in shaping her star persona and the ways in which they position Deneuve in relation to French political culture. The book considers exactly why directors gravitate towards Deneuve when trying to evoke or represent forms of female homosexual activity on film, and to consider exactly what such directors actually make Deneuve do and mean once they have her performing these particular forms of lesbian relation.
Screening the Hollywood Rebels in 1950s Britain explores the relationship between classic American films about juvenile delinquency and British popular youth culture in the mid-twentieth century. The book examines the censorship, publicity and fandom surrounding such Hollywood films as The Wild One, Blackboard Jungle, Rebel Without a Cause, Rock Around the Clock and Jailhouse Rock alongside such British films as The Blue Lamp, Spare the Rod and Serious Charge. Intersecting with star studies and social and cultural history, this is the first book to re-vision the stardom surrounding three extraordinarily influential Hollywood stars: Marlon Brando, James Dean and Elvis Presley. By looking specifically at the meanings of these American stars to British fans, this analysis provides a logical and sustained narrative that explains how and why these Hollywood images fed into, and disrupted, British cultural life. Screening the Hollywood Rebels in 1950s Britain is based upon a wide range of sources including censorship records, both mainstream and trade newspapers and periodicals, archival accounts and memoirs, as well as the films themselves. The book is a timely intervention of film culture and focuses on key questions about screen violence and censorship, masculinity and transnational stardom, method acting and performance, Americanisation and popular post-war British culture. The book is essential reading for researchers, academics and students of film and social and cultural history, alongside general readers interested in the links between the media and popular youth culture in the 1950s.
Previous studies of screen performance have tended to fix upon star actors, directors, or programme makers, or they have concentrated upon particular training and acting styles. Moving outside of these confines, this book provides an interdisciplinary account of performance in film and television and examines a much neglected area in people's understanding of how popular genres and performance intersect on screen. The advent of star studies certainly challenged the traditional notion of the director as the single or most important creative force in a film. Genre theory emerged as an academic area in the 1960s and 1970s, partly as a reaction to the auteurism of the period and partly as a way of addressing popular cinematic forms. Television studies have also developed catalogues of genres, some specific to the medium and some that refer to familiar cinematic genres. The book describes certain acting patterns in the classic noirs Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Out of the Past and the neo-noirs Chinatown. British television drama in the 1970s had a special interest in the genre of horror. There is no film genre to which performance is as crucial as it is to the biopic. To explore comedy performance is to acknowledge that there is something that defines a performance as 'comic'. The book also examines drama-documentary, the western, science fiction, comedy performance in 'spoof news' programmes and the television 'sit com' and popular Bollywood films.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book begins with a brief overview of Catherine Deneuve's career, followed by a critical survey of the field of theoretical star studies, highlighting its potential and limitations for European, and particularly French, film scholarship. It argues the need for the single-star case study as a model for understanding the multiple signifying elements of transnational stardom. From the outset, Deneuve was engaged in provocative screen roles that highlighted questions of female sexual identity. Her first role, at the age of 13, was a brief appearance as a schoolgirl in André Hunebelle's Collégiennes/The Twilight Girls (1956). Deneuve's first serious success came with her role in Jacques Demy's contemporary musical fable, Les Parapluies de Cherbourg/ The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
persona and on-screen character or role. Following Richard Dyer’s lead
in Stars ( 1979 ) and Heavenly Bodies: Film
Stars and Society ( 1986 ), what is now commonly
called ‘starstudies’ has examined these modes of star
construction and the wider meanings that an individual star persona
therefore brings to a film text. While Dyer stresses the extra-textual
elements in the building of a star persona, he also defines and
longevity outside of that filmic
The off-screen persona: from reverence to relief
Starstudies has characterised the
star as a media text constructed from both on-screen and off-screen material
(Morin, 1957 and Dyer, 1979 ).
This off-screen material comes from a variety of sources, such as magazine
interviews, film reviews, biographies and advertising. Classically, it is
Dean Allbritton, Alejandro Melero, and Tom Whittaker
Appreciation (2005) and Martin Shingler’s StarStudies: A Critical
Guide (2012), which also contains a highly useful overview to the field
While literature on screen acting has clearly gathered apace since the
new millennium, the vast majority of this scholarship has focused squarely
on American cinema. In contrast, screen acting in non-Anglophone film
industries has received significantly far less attention. Analyses of star
performances have been incorporated into monographs on European
stardom, such as Guy Austin’s Stars in Modern French Film (2003
general, including Gedhill’s excellent
Stardom: Industry of Desire ( 1991 ),
Fischer’s Stars: The Film Reader ( 2004 ),
Willis’s Film Stars: Hollywood and Beyond ( 2004 ), and Shingler’s StarStudies: A Critical Guide ( 2012 ). Likewise, there are those tomes dedicated
to single film stars. One that is closely linked to the subject of this
collection is Holmlund’s ( 2014 ) The Ultimate
’s name) in Samba (dir. Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, 2014).
Both Edgar Morin and Ginette Vincendeau draw the distinction between star and actor: while a star is always an actor, an actor is not necessarily always a star. In his seminal book for starstudies, The Stars , Morin argues that the star is ‘more than an actor incarnating characters; he incarnates himself in them, and they become incarnate in him’ (38). Gainsbourg’s career displays very early on what Morin calls the ‘reciprocal interpenetration’ of actor and character necessary for the formation of a