The Stardom Film - Creating the Hollywood Fairy Tale
Publisher: WallFlower Press
Since the earliest days of the movie industry, Hollywood has mythologized itself through stories of stardom. A female protagonist escapes the confines of rural America in search of freedom in a western dream factory; an ambitious, conceited movie idol falls from grace and discovers what it means to embody true stardom; or a fading star confronts Hollywood’s obsession with youth by embarking on a determined mission to reclaim her lost fame. In its various forms, the stardom film is crucial to understanding how Hollywood has shaped its own identity, as well as its claim on America’s collective imagination.In the first book to focus exclusively on these modern fairy tales, Karen McNally traces the history of this genre from silent cinema to contemporary film and television to show its significance to both Hollywood and broader American culture. Drawing on extensive archival research, she provides close readings of a wide range of films, from Souls for Sale (1923) to A Star is Born (1937 and 1954) and Judy (2019), moving between fictional narratives, biopics, and those that occupy a space in between. McNally considers the genre’s core set of tropes, its construction of stardom around idealized white femininity, and its reflections on the blurred boundaries between myth, image, and reality. The Stardom Film offers an original understanding of one of Hollywood’s most enduring genres and why the allure of fame continues to fascinate us.