Introduction to Hollywood Cinema:Stars, Spectacle, & Singin’ in the Rain<br />Prof. Julia Leyda<br />September 8, 2010<br />
quiz<br />Describe the relationship between the characters of Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain. Give as...
I. Stars<br />stardom is a social institution<br />audiences produce stars, along with film industry production and promot...
stars in the industry<br />created by studio promotion department and executives<br />“owned” as properties of their studi...
stars on the screen<br />paradoxical qualities of stars<br />average American girl, raised to the nth power<br />normal, b...
stars and audience<br />trendsetters in fashion, home, décor<br />enviable and pitiable for their rich and famous lifestyl...
typecasting and casting against type<br />stars usually play similar characters <br />audiences know what to expect and ar...
good girl: Judy Garland<br />
bombshell: Jean Harlow<br />
sexy: Marilyn Monroe<br />
exotic: Marlene Dietrich<br />
sophisticated: Grace Kelly<br />
Lina Lamont as parody of star<br />blonde, glamorous, well-dressed star image<br />harsh, shrill voice and working-class a...
Lina clip 1<br />
Lina clip 2<br />
“star” stories in movies<br />A Star is Born (1937) set the formula<br />discovery of “ordinary” girl: Cinderella <br />pr...
II. Spectacle<br />movies comprise “cinema of attractions” organized into sequence by a story<br />visual spectacle vs. na...
movie = moving pictures<br />kinema (Greek for motion)<br />slapstick and visual comedy<br />chase and fight scenes<br />s...
musicals and “autonomous spectacle”<br />autonomous = independent, separate from the rest of the movie<br />Donald O’Conno...
“Make ‘Em Laugh” clip<br />
What is Hollywood?<br />Singin’ in the Rain and Sullivan’s Travels<br />Hollywood “backstage” stories about making movies ...
utopian Hollywood <br />“utopia” = no place, perfect place<br />pleasure in our involvement in utopian stories and visual ...
discussion questions<br />Discuss typecasting among your favorite stars. Does it happen much, or not? Why or why not?<br /...
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HC2. Stars, Spectacle, and Singin' in the Rain

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HC2. Stars, Spectacle, and Singin' in the Rain

  1. 1. Introduction to Hollywood Cinema:Stars, Spectacle, & Singin’ in the Rain<br />Prof. Julia Leyda<br />September 8, 2010<br />
  2. 2. quiz<br />Describe the relationship between the characters of Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain. Give as many details and examples as you can to show me you watched the movie carefully.<br />(10 minutes)<br />
  3. 3. I. Stars<br />stardom is a social institution<br />audiences produce stars, along with film industry production and promotion, plus media publicity<br />“star persona”: combination of star’s own personality (or not?), image or look, character types, personal gossip or scandals<br />
  4. 4. stars in the industry<br />created by studio promotion department and executives<br />“owned” as properties of their studio by contract (during the classical era)<br />“star vehicle”: movie created for a certain star<br />big stars could do 2 or 3 vehicles per year<br />20+ fan magazines in the 1930s <br />
  5. 5. stars on the screen<br />paradoxical qualities of stars<br />average American girl, raised to the nth power<br />normal, but also extraordinary<br />roles must offer predictability and novelty<br />recognizable, but also “acting” the part<br />represent what the audience want in a spouse or lover, or who they want to be<br />ideals of masculinity or femininity of their time and place<br />
  6. 6. stars and audience<br />trendsetters in fashion, home, décor<br />enviable and pitiable for their rich and famous lifestyle (longing for simple domesticity)<br />constrained by promotion and publicity<br />marketed as objects, commodities<br />typecast into limited kinds of characters<br />some stars damaged or destroyed by fame<br />
  7. 7. typecasting and casting against type<br />stars usually play similar characters <br />audiences know what to expect and are satisfied when they get it<br />star’s “type” often similar to off-screen image <br />even when cast against type, stars are defined by (against) their usual type<br />very hard to break out of typecasting <br />
  8. 8. good girl: Judy Garland<br />
  9. 9. bombshell: Jean Harlow<br />
  10. 10. sexy: Marilyn Monroe<br />
  11. 11. exotic: Marlene Dietrich<br />
  12. 12. sophisticated: Grace Kelly<br />
  13. 13. Lina Lamont as parody of star<br />blonde, glamorous, well-dressed star image<br />harsh, shrill voice and working-class accent<br />believes she and Don are engaged<br />reads fan magazines and gossip columns<br />stereotype of star: spoiled, flattered, vain, manipulated by executives<br />
  14. 14. Lina clip 1<br />
  15. 15. Lina clip 2<br />
  16. 16. “star” stories in movies<br />A Star is Born (1937) set the formula<br />discovery of “ordinary” girl: Cinderella <br />price of fame: is it worth it?<br />artificiality: publicity, acting, fake name, trained voice, image, wardrobe<br />dream and nightmare<br />mutual obligation of stars and fans<br />
  17. 17. II. Spectacle<br />movies comprise “cinema of attractions” organized into sequence by a story<br />visual spectacle vs. narrative story<br />commercial aesthetic: widest audience<br />some love good stories<br />some love exciting visual images<br />some love both together<br />
  18. 18. movie = moving pictures<br />kinema (Greek for motion)<br />slapstick and visual comedy<br />chase and fight scenes<br />special effects<br />three kinds of movement<br />objects in the frame<br />camera<br />editing<br />
  19. 19. musicals and “autonomous spectacle”<br />autonomous = independent, separate from the rest of the movie<br />Donald O’Connor’s “Make ‘Em Laugh” number<br />physical expertise interrupts the story<br />audience pleasure in O’Connor’s movement<br />his character, Cosmo, almost disappears<br />very loose connection with story development <br />long take, very few cuts or camera movement<br />
  20. 20. “Make ‘Em Laugh” clip<br />
  21. 21. What is Hollywood?<br />Singin’ in the Rain and Sullivan’s Travels<br />Hollywood “backstage” stories about making movies and stars<br />“what do audiences want?”<br />importance of Hollywood in everyday lives of fans<br />importance of audience pleasure<br />ultimately flattering images of Hollywood (!)<br />
  22. 22. utopian Hollywood <br />“utopia” = no place, perfect place<br />pleasure in our involvement in utopian stories and visual images<br />movies similar to our lives, but better<br />escape from unpleasant reality<br />life without the boring bits (Hitchcock)<br />stars as our utopian selves, real but better<br />America as it wanted to see itself (Bazin)<br />
  23. 23. discussion questions<br />Discuss typecasting among your favorite stars. Does it happen much, or not? Why or why not?<br />Being a star is portrayed as being both a dream and a nightmare. Which stars do you think of in that context?<br />Singin’ in the Rain is about fans and stars, real life and fiction, art and entertainment. What do you think its message is?<br />

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