"How--and why--do we focus on those individuals we come to call stars? How does stardom both reflect and mask the person behind it? How have the image of stardom and our stars' images changed over the past hundred years? What does celebrity mean if people can become famous simply for being famous? Ty Burr answers these questions in this lively, wonderfully anecdotal history of stardom--both its blessings and its curses, for the star and the stargazer alike. From Florence Lawrence, Mary Pickford, and Charlie Chaplin, to Archie Leach (a.k.a. Cary Grant), Ruby Stevens (a.k.a. Barbara Stanwyck), and Marion Morrison (a.k.a. John Wayne), to Jim Belushi, Tom Cruise, and Julia Roberts, to such no-cal stars of today as the Kardashians and the new online celebrity (i.e., you and me), Burr takes us on a brilliantly insightful and entertaining journey through the modern fame game at its flashiest, its most indulgent, occasionally its most tragic and, ultimately, its most culturally revealing"--
In this fascinating cultural study, film critic Burr explores the rise of stars in the early film industry. Burr argues "that every successful star creates a persona and within that persona is an idea[;] the films are merely variations on the idea." Early stars were Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, and Clark Gable, but Brando broke the mold, and now, Burr argues, "his DNA... courses through our young actors and movie stars." Burr chronicles the star system-silents, talkies, movie factories, postwar studios-while citing factors such as television ("evoked not glamour, but ordinariness"), music (Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna), MTV, HBO, and YouTube ("teenagers have at their disposal the fundamental moviemaking facilities of a Hollywood studio in the 1930s"). In this solid analysis of celebrity, he offers insight on the career arcs of Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise ("not an actor but a huge global superstar"), Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner, and Jodie Foster. Agent: Sarah Burnes, The Gernert Company. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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September 17, 2012
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