Hello my dears!! Today I’ll talk about the famous “Star System”. But, what is this?
The Star System was a phenomenon very important in the period of American Classic Cinema and it is very useful until today. According to Machado (2009) and Gubernikoff (2009), it was worked the stereotypes and archetypes of the artists, through the own spectator’s vision who passed to treat the movies’ actors like important people to society or like real heroes. Then the cinema worked like a mirror to the public because the spectators began to identify themselves emotionally, not only with the movies or the characters but, especially, with the actors. Wasson (2011) says that:
Since the era of first stars from Hollywood, cinema’s spectators have been devouring a constant dose of self-image. It being man or woman, boy or girl, the screen shows a mirror to the public, reflecting what is adequate or inadequate in terms of family, love, war and genre – sometimes consciously, others not (WASSON, 2011, p. 44).
Paes (2012, online) shows us that, the big first decade where the Star System stood out was in the 30’s because it was when the talkies appeared, approaching more the spectator with the sound in the movies. In the 40’s years appeared the “sex symbols” and the actresses became known by nicknames: Ginger Rogers was “the ballerina”; Bette Davis was “the rag doll”; Ingrid Bergman, “the foreign”; Ava Gardner, “the most beautiful animal of the world”; etc. Already about the actors, there were the “medium men” as Henry Fonda and James Stewart; the “adventurous” as Gary Cooper, Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart; the singers and dancers as Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, among others.
Coming in the 50’s decade, according to Gubernikoff (2009): “in 1950, a search pointed that 48% of the female public and 36% of the male public chose the movies from the cast”. (GUBERNIKOFF, 2009, p. 70).It was through the Star System that the actors created an “image” in front of the public and, until nowadays, this image is maintained strongly in the mind of people. Wasson (2011) still shows that:
Working with all the hurry, the studios of Hollywood molded its stars in the amalgamated form of cultural, political and financial factors which when they’re mixed in the right proportions they reached the time’s spirit with lucrative regularity. […] Movies’ stars are built, they don’t born ready, and their parents aren’t their mothers and fathers, but the legion of authors, directors, costumers and, above of everything, the studios’ chiefs who cared for their persona – their filmic personality – could attend the particular necessities of time and place. […] This was the formula, and since the beginning of Hollywood the stars’ machines of studio used it to produce stars, like power plants produce strengths, using x insistently until Archie Leach become Cary Grant and Norma Jean Baker become Marilyn Monroe. (WASSON, 2011, p. 42-43).
The Star System also contributed to become characters of big actresses as Audrey Hepburn, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe and others, in some of the bigger success of the cinema’s history. But, in general, these actresses still acted stereotyped roles, for example: Audrey Hepburn and Doris Day usually represented roles more “correct” and Marilyn Monroe, on the other hand, used to represent the bad side, in general lovers or dumb blondes. About this theme, Wasson (2011) comments that in the classic period of American cinema there was an extreme dialectic to women, especially in the 50’s decade: “in the 50’s years, if you were a woman, a lot of things were wrong and a few things were honorable. Or you were a slut or a saint.” (WASSON, 2011, p. 44).
Nowadays this phenomenon is still very used in the cinema because it became itself in the heart of the film industry. It is very common people wear similar clothes that their favorite artists, use the same accessories or make the same poses in photos because the Star System stimulates this kind of attitude, once people identify themselves with these artists. Furthermore, the Star System also has been used by advertising through the image’s appropriation of the artists that is used to sell the products for the appropriate public, with the creation of an emotional connection between the public and the campaign, provided by this use of artists.
GUBERNIKOFF, Giselle. A imagem: representação da mulher no cinema [The image: representation of woman in the cinema]. Conexão – Comunicação e Cultura [Connection – Communication and Culture], UCS, Caxias do Sul, v. 8, n. 15, Jan/Jun 2009. Available in: <http://www.ucs.br/etc/revistas/index.php/conexao/article/view/113/104>. Access in: Apr, 15th 2014.
MACHADO, Mariângela. A formação do espectador de cinema e a indústria cinematográfica norte-americana [The formation of cinema’s spectator and the North-American film industry]. Rio Grande do Sul: Sessões do Imaginário [Imaginary’s Sessions], 2009. Available in: <http://revistaseletronicas.pucrs.br/ojs/index.php/famecos/article/view/6475>. Access in: Mar, 28th 2014.
PAES, Roberto. O mito e o “Star System”: Décadas de 30, 40 e 50 [The myth and the “Star System”: Decades of 30, 40 and 50]. 2012. Available in: <http://blog.newtonpaiva.br/direito/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/PDF-D1-05.pdf>. Access in: Apr, 20th 2014.
WASSON, Sam. Quinta Avenida, 5 da manhã: Audrey Hepburn, Bonequinha de luxo e o surgimento da mulher moderna [Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the dawn of the modern woman]. Translated by José Rubens Siqueira. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2011. Cap. 01.