Idols of Modernity: Movie Stars of the 1920s

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Overview


With its sharp focus on stardom during the 1920s, Idols of Modernity reveals strong connections and dissonances in matters of storytelling and performance that can be traced both backward and forward, across Europe, Asia, and the United States, from the silent era into the emergence of sound.

Bringing together the best new work on cinema and stardom in the 1920s, this illustrated collection showcases the range of complex social, institutional, and aesthetic issues at work in American cinema of this time. Attentive to stardom as an ensemble of texts, contexts, and social phenomena stretching beyond the cinema, major scholars provide careful analysis of the careers of both well-known and now forgotten stars of the silent and early sound era—Douglas Fairbanks, Buster Keaton, the Talmadge sisters, Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, Clara Bow, Colleen Moore, Greta Garbo, Anna May Wong, Emil Jannings, Al Jolson, Ernest Morrison, Noble Johnson, Evelyn Preer, Lincoln Perry, and Marie Dressler.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"A collection of fascinating, stellar essays on the emerging culture of celebrity during the 1920s. Highly recommended."

Screening the Past

"Incisive, elegantly crafted essays chronicling the major figures in the first years of the star system. Idols of Modernity is a rigorous, insightful, and refreshing look at the stars of the 1920s, the world in which they lived, the directors, producers and studios who shaped their public image, and the audiences who flocked to see their films."

Choice

"A collection of fascinating, stellar essays on the emerging culture of celebrity during the 1920s. Highly recommended."
Screening the Past

"Incisive, elegantly crafted essays chronicling the major figures in the first years of the star system. Idols of Modernity is a rigorous, insightful, and refreshing look at the stars of the 1920s, the world in which they lived, the directors, producers and studios who shaped their public image, and the audiences who flocked to see their films."
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Product Details

Meet the Author


PATRICE PETRO is a professor of English and film studies and vice provost for international education at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. President of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, she is the author and editor of numerous books on film, culture, and internationalization, among them Global Cities: Cinema, Architecture, and Urbanism in a Digital Age (Rutgers University Press).
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Stardom in the 1920s Patrice Petro 1

1 Douglas Fairbanks: King of Hollywood Scott Curtis 21

2 Buster Keaton: Comic Invention and the Art of Moving Pictures Charles Wolfe 41

3 The Talmadge Sisters: A Forgotten Filmmaking Dynasty Lea Jacobs 65

4 Rudolph Valentino: Italian American Amy Lawrence 87

5 An Appetite for Living: Gloria Swanson, Colleen Moore, and Clara Bow Mary Desjardins 108

6 Greta Garbo: Fashioning a Star Image Lucy Fischer 137

7 Anna May Wong: Toward Janus-Faced, Border-Crossing, “Minor” Stardom Yiman Wang 159

8 Emil Jannings: Translating the Star Gerd Gemünden 182

9 Al Jolson: The Man Who Changed the Movies Forever Krin Gabbard 202

10 African American Stardom Inside and Outside of Hollywood: Ernest Morrison, Noble Johnson, Evelyn Preer, and Lincoln Perry Paula J. Massood 227

11 Marie Dressler: Thief of the Talkies Joanna E. Rapf 250

In the Wings Patrice Petro 270

Works Cited 285

Contributors 297

Index 301

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