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Movie Crazy: Stars, Fans, and the Cult of Celebrity
     

Movie Crazy: Stars, Fans, and the Cult of Celebrity

by S. Barbas
 
While the impact that legendary actors and actresses have had on the development of the Hollywood film industry is well known, few have recognised the power of movie fans on shaping the industry. This books redresses that balance, and is the first study of Hollywood's golden era to examine the period from the viewpoint of the fans. Using fan club journals, fan letters

Overview

While the impact that legendary actors and actresses have had on the development of the Hollywood film industry is well known, few have recognised the power of movie fans on shaping the industry. This books redresses that balance, and is the first study of Hollywood's golden era to examine the period from the viewpoint of the fans. Using fan club journals, fan letters, studio production records, and other previously unpublished archival sources, Samantha Barbas reveals how the passion, enthusiasm, and ongoing activism of film fans in Hollywood's golden era transformed early cinema, the modern mass media and American popular culture.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Reviews for the hardback edition

'A unique film history with astute commentary.' Library Journal

'With this book in hand, we can begin to understand what is popular in American popular art.' Lary May, author of The Big Tomorrow: Hollywood and the Politics of the American Way

'I loved this exploration of the synergism between fans, stars, studios, and the celebrity and consumer cultures in Hollywood's Golden Age. Movie Crazy is a revelation.' Diana McLellan, author of The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood

'Movie fans will appreciate the story of celebrities, fans, studios, stars and film producers...' - Deland (FL) Beacon

Lary May
Barbas skillfully uses new sources to paint a detailed portrait of desires that drives popular art in the United States.
Publishers Weekly
This neatly presented (though not very thorough) work explores how movie fans sought to understand, control and participate in U.S. films from 1900 to 1950. Barbas, a teacher at Arizona State's interdisciplinary studies program, uses distinctive examples and film fan archives to prove that "[t]he story of film fandom, in large part, is the story of the way that fans refused to accept mass culture passively and, instead, became actively involved in their entertainment." She cites some well-known themes, among them the lure of going to Hollywood to be an actress and the desire to know the person presented on-screen an emotion that evolved into star adulation. More interesting are the often unexamined intricacies of the movie fan world, such as the variations among budding movie fan magazines and movie fan club activities like boosting (doing everything one could to publicize a star). Also captivating are the familiar ideas rendered originally, such as the rise of film-related consumerism, which was the film industry's attempt to get "movie-struck girls" to transform their cinematic ambitions into vicarious participation in the Hollywood dream. Throughout, Barbas offers specific examples (on Gable, Crawford and others) and tidy presentations of facts and figures (on fan letters and movie attendance, particularly) in a modest prose style. Esspecially, for those unfamiliar with early film history, this is a useful survey of fandom. (Nov. 19) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Barbas (interdisciplinary studies, Arizona State Univ.) skillfully traces the development of both celebrity and fan in this thoroughly researched and well-written volume, which covers the years from 1900 to 1950. Fans first wrote letters, then formed structured fan clubs; they read a growing selection of movie periodicals and, ultimately, expressed their strong collective views. As movies became more integral to American life and Hollywood thrived, studios and stars became more conscious of the opinions of fans as active movie consumers. Just how this screen/audience relationship grew, with its complex mutual influence, is at the heart of this book. Stories about the individual fan followings of such stars as Florence Lawrence, Clark Gable, Mary Pickford, and Frank Sinatra with details about specific films, studio associations, and social trends constitute a unique film history with astute commentary and make for fascinating reading. Anyone who has ever admired a movie star, been enthralled by a particular film, or wanted to know more about the Hollywood phenomenon will find this book of interest, while film scholars and students of popular culture should consider it a necessity. Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312239626
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan US
Publication date:
02/18/2002
Edition description:
2002
Pages:
218
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.03(d)

Meet the Author

Samantha Barbas, a specialist in American cultural studies, currently teaches in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program at Arizona State University.

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