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The making of a star and his her duration Since most dreary lives require Stars to exist, a cinematic royal family , this is not to coin a friend s phrase poop on the lawn Poop, alas, seems to be Page One The author upholds discretion and doesn t tell us the stratagems, usually sex, that got most into stardom Author, instead, examines careers within the olde studio system, fr Tyrone Power to Jean Arthur, and leaves off the obvious names Davis Grant etc Her updates 2010 are feeble The making of a star and his her duration Since most dreary lives require Stars to exist, a cinematic royal family , this is not to coin a friend s phrase poop on the lawn Poop, alas, seems to be Page One The author upholds discretion and doesn t tell us the stratagems, usually sex, that got most into stardom Author, instead, examines careers within the olde studio system, fr Tyrone Power to Jean Arthur, and leaves off the obvious names Davis Grant etc Her updates 2010 are feeble.However, her sociology of the how to s and machinery to cast a Personality are damn good Hitch said, Casting is characterization Author notes the Factory knew how tobuild movies around a typed Personality For once a specific type was endorsed by the audience, you couldn t disappoint Tyrone Power was beautiful, she writes, not handsome beautiful He finally got a chance to work it all in Wilder s Witness for the Prosecution His star presence merged with serious acting Had his role of villain Vole , she points out, been played by a non star, the audience would know Vole dunit Similarly, in same pic, Wilder trumps w Dietrich as co villain Audiences cannot say, well, Veda Ann Borg fooled us Star power is star power It overrulesacting every time Author s understanding of stardom here is excellent.A studio might work work to locate type Bogart is perfect example Throughout the 30s he played gangsters He found his heroic image in The Maltese Falcon Here, the actor becomes thecharacter and the character becomes the actor He found his star type and grew to be a screen legend, she writes.Greer Garson had to keep her dignity poor dear Audiences accepted her in delicato comedy Pride Prejudice but not screwball Julia Misbehaves , though she later did Auntie Mame on Bwy When she married her costar from Mrs Miniver, Louis Beezie Mayer gasped, Maybe he ll be killed in the war and problems will be solved Old Hollywood was a terrible place to be in the business of being a movie star The studios were in charge of your look, your personal life, your image, your everything Players had no private life and the studio could make you or break you on a whim This book explores that world and traces the lives of several stars, character actors, oddities, and second leadsand how they made it or faded away when the studio was done with them.We learn, for example how a man who was truly ugly and a Old Hollywood was a terrible place to be in the business of being a movie star The studios were in charge of your look, your personal life, your image, your everything Players had no private life and the studio could make you or break you on a whim This book explores that world and traces the lives of several stars, character actors, oddities, and second leadsand how they made it or faded away when the studio was done with them.We learn, for example how a man who was truly ugly and a ham besides became so popular Wallace Beery how the girl with the odd voice and who was not beautiful became a star Jean Arthur , and why Betty Hutton was tossed aside as the public s taste changed All the great players are here and their story is not particularly pretty It makes one wonder why anyone would want to be a star in that dog eat dog world A very interesting and informative book which holds a few surprises and makes us look at the studios in a different light Recommended for the film buff Actually, I think the NYT review of this is rather snide But no matter, Basinger is by far my favorite film historian and she hits this one out of the park, shedding light on the studio process of manufacturing stars that I d never considered She also uses the star system construct to bring some performers who probably will never rate a full blown biography back into the spotlight, like Irene Dunne, Jean Arthur, Van Johnson, and Loretta Young.Basinger writes in a confiding and upbeat way, draw Actually, I think the NYT review of this is rather snide But no matter, Basinger is by far my favorite film historian and she hits this one out of the park, shedding light on the studio process of manufacturing stars that I d never considered She also uses the star system construct to bring some performers who probably will never rate a full blown biography back into the spotlight, like Irene Dunne, Jean Arthur, Van Johnson, and Loretta Young.Basinger writes in a confiding and upbeat way, drawing you in to her conclusions, even as she flatly asserts that others have got it wrong I could not agreewith her assessment and Mick Lasalle s that Norma Shearer is unfairly forgotten today Shearer s type has fallen out of favor and doesn t translate well to modern audiences, but Shearer herself was very gifted Basinger and I part company on Betty Hutton, whom I consider mostly to be a migraine on the hoof I find it rather alarming that, in Basinger s assessment, so many stars are completely unknown to younger audiences, but she d know as a film studies professor.I d give this one 10 stars if they were available Not just a must read but a must own The idea of a star being born is bushwah A star is created, carefully and coldbloodedly, built up from nothing, from nobodyAge, beauty, talent least of all talent has nothing to do with itWe could make silk purses out of sow s ears every day in the week During the Golden Age of movies the studio system controlled and manufactured the lives of their actors, having final say over everything from haircuts to spouses and covering up the seedier side of Hollywood Basinger brings to ligh The idea of a star being born is bushwah A star is created, carefully and coldbloodedly, built up from nothing, from nobodyAge, beauty, talent least of all talent has nothing to do with itWe could make silk purses out of sow s ears every day in the week During the Golden Age of movies the studio system controlled and manufactured the lives of their actors, having final say over everything from haircuts to spouses and covering up the seedier side of Hollywood Basinger brings to light the lives of lesser known actors and shows us from the inside out how they were created and kept in line It s an intimate look at a way of life that has since disappeared, accompanied by a great set of archival photos My love of classic movies runs deep so this book was right up my alley The great part about this book is it introduces the reader to actors they may not know as well It doesn t cover the John Wayne s and Judy Garland s of the era Instead it introduces readers to other amazing actors like Jean Arthur and William Powell, stars who were famousthan 50 years ago but have since been mostly forgotten For me, it was nice to readabout a group of actors I d watched on screen but knew little about For example, Eleanor Powell was almost singlehandedly responsible for saving Warner Brothers Studios during the Depression Her powerful, low to the ground tap dancing tended to blow any male partner out of the water She was physically stronger than most of the men available to play opposite her, and she certainly could out tap everyone The reader is told the old studio system is no longer in existence but in its hey day was extremely impressive MGM could complete a film every nine days In 1950 alone they completed 16 cartoons, 12 Travelogues , 9 Pete Smith specialties , 8 People on Parades , 104 News of the Day and 41 feature films I tried not to let my jaw hit the floor The amount of complex coordination it would have taken is mindboggling Basinger references a huge stack of movies and provides a variety of stock and candid photos that help put names to faces and also reveal the variety of talent at the studios I only wish the book had includedactors or had been longer It was nice to see how things worked but I almost wanted achronological approach to see how things started and follow through to when the system broke down If you love classic movies then I would highly recommend this book It s a great addition to any library and now has a home in mine Film historian Jeanine Basinger s 2007 book The Star Machine is a thorough examination of how the studio system operated during Hollywood s Golden Age Basinger is the chair of film studies at Wesleyan University, and it s very clear that movies have been a life long passion for her The Star Machine is 550 pages of details about film stars and movies that might not be familiar to modern audiences The Star Machine s biggest strength is also its biggest problem Basinger is a huge fan And while Film historian Jeanine Basinger s 2007 book The Star Machine is a thorough examination of how the studio system operated during Hollywood s Golden Age Basinger is the chair of film studies at Wesleyan University, and it s very clear that movies have been a life long passion for her The Star Machine is 550 pages of details about film stars and movies that might not be familiar to modern audiences The Star Machine s biggest strength is also its biggest problem Basinger is a huge fan And while that means that she s actually taken the time to watch all of these obscure movies, it sometimes gets in the way of her writing Sometimes her writing just gets too fan girly, like when she s gushing repeatedly about how good looking Tyrone Power was Power was beautiful Not handsome Beautiful Solid, substantial, and with great masculine dignity, but with the kind of physical looks that can only be labeled beautiful p.143 Basinger thinks that Power was the best looking man ever, and, tellingly, the section in the index with the most entries for Power is physical beauty of Basinger also is driven to hyperbole when writing about Deanna Durbin, a very popular child star of the 1930 s and 1940 s When summing up Durbin s career, Basinger writes, No matter how many imitators Hollywood might develop, there was only one Deanna Durbin, and there will never be another one p.294 I ll admit I might be guilty of these same crimes in my writing, as when on occasion I might be overly effusive when describing the attractiveness of my favorite actresses, like Kim Novak or Natalie Wood And there s nothing wrong with being a big fan of someone and showing it, I just think there s perhapsof it in this book than is necessary.The most interesting part of The Star Machine is the beginning, as Basinger tells us how the studios discovered future stars, groomed them, and tried to find suitable roles for them It s a fascinating look behind the scenes of the powerful studios Basinger is an insightful critic who is able to easily explain the appeal that these movie stars had That being said, her criticism is mainly about the movie stars themselves She does not dive deeply into the technical side of filmmaking, as she isinterested in the effect that these movie stars have on us in the audience In the middle section of the book Basinger details the careers of several movie stars Rather than focusing on huge legends like Cary Grant, John Wayne, and Katherine Hepburn, she writes about the careers of actors like Irene Dunne, Loretta Young, William Powell and other stars of the 1930 s and 1940 s I think that Basinger s point is that stars like Grant, Wayne, and Hepburn have been thoroughly analyzed elsewhere, and she wants to shed light on some stars who aren t as well known today I understand that, but I think it might also have been instructive to profile some huge stars like Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford to see how they succeeded in Hollywood for so long The Star Machine is saddled with an awkward conclusion, Stardom without the Machine that is a shallow look at current movie stars, and really doesn t add anything to the book.One gripe I have about The Star Machine is that I m a little annoyed at how few sources Basinger cites Her bibliography is just three pages long For a 550 page non fiction book She also doesn t cite quotations It really puzzles me as to why Basinger s publisher didn t make her do this When Alice Faye said of Tyrone Power, Ty was the victim of the Hollywood system that grinds actors and actresses down, makes them give their blood and their souls to the movies as she s quoted as saying on page 179 of The Star Machine, when did she say it To whom did she say it I have no idea, because Basinger does not cite the source for this quote It drives me batty that her publisher let her get away with this If I m reading a non fiction book, I want to know where the author is getting their information from The ultimate goal behind citing a source for a quotation is so the reader could theoretically find that same quote, so they know that the author got it right I believe that Basinger has done the research and that she knows her stuff, I just want her to show her work If you want to learn about Hollywood during the studio system, The Star Machine is a great reference But you really need to be a fan of pre World War II Hollywood, as Basinger doesn t cover the career of anyone who started making movies after 1940 If you still remember Ann Sheridan, then this is the book for you You know, Ann Sheridan, the oomph girl, star of The Footloose Heiress, She Loved a Fireman, and Appointment in Honduras You remember her, right Good, I m glad I m not the only one Basinger is a well known movie historian and this is one of her most enjoyable works Her knowledge is of course formidable, but so is her passion, and the combination works wonders This book is mostly an analysis of how the studio system created stars during it s golden age, and it describes the manufacturing of gods and goddesses for the big screen with a wealth of details that is astounding and illuminating Basinger is at her best when she shows how the machine works in inhuman yet highly Basinger is a well known movie historian and this is one of her most enjoyable works Her knowledge is of course formidable, but so is her passion, and the combination works wonders This book is mostly an analysis of how the studio system created stars during it s golden age, and it describes the manufacturing of gods and goddesses for the big screen with a wealth of details that is astounding and illuminating Basinger is at her best when she shows how the machine works in inhuman yet highly successful ways and how the human factor those stars are, after all, human beings can create problems or unexpected situations Her views on the careers of actors like Tyrone Power, Loretta Young, Lana Turner, Errol Flynn, Deanna Durbin and manyis brilliant and makes sense it s also a must read for anyone who wants to understand how the system functioned, succeeded and failed at the same time LOVED THIS BOOK what s great is basinger is obviously a scholar but evenso, she is also a devoted movie fan the insight she has about the stars is illuminating not just in the academic sense but also the intimate personal knowledge basinger imbues in all her analysis as she grew up watching these movies WHEN THEY WERE ACTUALLY OUT.the greatest compliment i can give is that the book made me want to see movies of people i was not fans of tyrone power, loretta young, etc and re inspired i LOVED THIS BOOK what s great is basinger is obviously a scholar but evenso, she is also a devoted movie fan the insight she has about the stars is illuminating not just in the academic sense but also the intimate personal knowledge basinger imbues in all her analysis as she grew up watching these movies WHEN THEY WERE ACTUALLY OUT.the greatest compliment i can give is that the book made me want to see movies of people i was not fans of tyrone power, loretta young, etc and re inspired ignited my love for the stars i already adored jean arthur, ERROL FLYNN , etc not only thather footnotes are completely hilarious and full of good info.it s a lengthy book but it moves quickly esp if you love the subject manner &FREE BOOK ☝ The Star Machine ⇠ From one of our leading film authorities, a rich, penetrating, amusing plum pudding of a book about the golden age of movies, full of Hollywood lore, anecdotes, and analysis Jeanine Basingergives us an immensely entertaining look into the star machine, examining how, at the height of the studio system, from the s to the s, the studios worked to manufacture star actors and actresses With revelatory insights and delightful asides, she shows us how the machine worked when it worked, how it failed when it didn t, and how irrelevant it could sometimes be She gives us the human factor, case studies focusing on big stars groomed into the system the awesomely beautiful and disillusioned Tyrone Power the seductive, disobedient Lana Turner and a dazzling cast of others Loretta Young, Errol Flynn, Irene Dunne, Deanna Durbin She anatomizes their careers, showing how their fame happened, and what happened to them as a result Both Lana Turner and Errol Flynn, for instance, were involved in notorious court cases In her trenchantly observed conclusion, she explains what has become of the star machine and why the studios practice of making stars is no longer relevant Deeply engrossing, full of energy, wit, and wisdom, The Star Machine is destined to become an invaluable part of the film canon Wow Cannot believe I made it to the end of this book Okay, so that s a lie I actually skimmed the last 50 or so pages because I just couldn t take it any.I loved the vignettes about different actors, but throughout the book I felt a bit lost I wish the author had outlined the very specific steps of the star machine process from the beginning I think she did, but her further chapters were so extensive I never found them to recall and support her main thesis And, what s the big deal abo Wow Cannot believe I made it to the end of this book Okay, so that s a lie I actually skimmed the last 50 or so pages because I just couldn t take it any.I loved the vignettes about different actors, but throughout the book I felt a bit lost I wish the author had outlined the very specific steps of the star machine process from the beginning I think she did, but her further chapters were so extensive I never found them to recall and support her main thesis And, what s the big deal about the star machine Why should we care I suppose that is what the final 50 pages were about how the star machine is dead and the new Hollywood is totally different Pages go by listing the modern stars and how they would fit the certain types of the old Hollywood, but why work so hard to try to justify them like this Perhaps a definitive date should have been given, or a timeline of when the star machine developed and why, and when its effectiveness and use ended in common Hollywood practice I also thought it would have beeneffective to have a few additional Annex pages other than a simple Index that drew connections between the different studios, actors, producers, and films It all just got SO immensely confusingand I m a film buff Overall, I was REALLY looking forward to diving into this book I had it on my shelf for ages and I finally go to it just recently Unfortunately, it was a bit of a disappointment Fun anecdotes, but not a lot of cohesion I thoroughly enjoyed the content as well as the structure of this book I think I partly liked it so much because she articulates the qualities of classic Hollywood that I love most, which I may have otherwise had a hard time verbalizing It was a quick read at over 500 pages Some film literature can be too elementary or too scholarly in a pretentious kind of way , but I found this to be perfectly sharp and digestible.