>>0 >>1 >> 2 >> 3 >> 4 >> The Hollywood Star System and Cary Grant Presentation brought to you by Laura McBride
>>0 >>1 >> 2 >> 3 >> 4 >> Hollywood Star System The Hollywood Star System began during the Silent Film era. The whole premise is that studios would determine who they wanted to “make” a star. This could include changing their names, appearance, way of dress, biographies, and even their love interests and personal or familial lives.
>>0 >>1 >> 2 >> 3 >> 4 >> Hollywood Star System Continued… During the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, studios held their stars to very strict contracts. The studios even had full authority to loan their stars out to other studios. In essence, every area of the actors personal and professional life was controlled by the studios.
>>0 >>1 >> 2 >> 3 >> 4 >> Hollywood Star System Continued… The studios required contracts for morality and the like. It was also well known that the studios would bribe the press not to run stories that could negatively affect the stars persona with the public. Examples would be infidelity, drug use, etc. Likewise, they would also pay for “good press”. Examples would be philanthropy of the stars, dating (real or contrived) between major stars, marriages, birth of children, etc.
>>0 >>1 >> 2 >> 3 >> 4 >> Hollywood Star System: The Problem The problem with this system is that the more famous a star became, the more possessive the studio became. Eventually, most stars felt as if they were being held captive. Publicity stints became the mandatory norm, regardless of whether the actor was sick, injured, or otherwise.
>>0 >>1 >> 2 >> 3 >> 4 >> Hollywood Star System: The Problem “The majors viewed their stars as valuable investments, as "properties." Promising neophytes served an apprenticeship as "starlets," a term reserved for females, though male newcomers were subjected to the same treatment. They were often assigned a new name, were given a characteristic "look" (usually in imitation of a reigning favorite), and were taught how to talk, walk, and wear costumes. Frequently they had their social schedules arranged by the publicity department to insure maximum press exposure. Suitable "romances" were arranged to fuel the columns of the four hundred and more reporters who covered the Hollywood beat during the studio era.... The studios received up to 32 million fan letters per week, 85 percent of them from young females. Major stars received about three thousand letters per week, and the volume of their mail was regarded as an accurate gauge of their popularity”. (Giannetti and Eyman 124)
>>0 >>1 >> 2 >> 3 >> 4 >> Hollywood Star System: The Problem As this indentured slave like pattern continued, stars became more and more resentful towards the studios. By the 1950’s, most had enough and were ready to revolt. Although Grant was the first, in the 30’s. Some of these stars include: Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Cary Grant.
>>0 >>1 >> 2 >> 3 >> 4 >> Cary Grant Facts: Born: Archibald Alexander Leach, January 18, 1904, in Horfield, Bristol, England, UK Died: November 29, 1986 (age 82), in Davenport, Iowa Born into a lower middle class family. Father was an alcoholic and mother was involuntarily committed to a mental institution. Not reunited with “Archie” until he was in his 30’s.
>>0 >>1 >> 2 >> 3 >> 4 >> The Grass is Greener Grant auditioned for Paramount in 1931 and was immediately signed to a 5 year contract. His first feature film was This Is the Night in 1932. By 1936, Grant had become disillusioned with the Paramount and the Star System and decided to leave. As noted, “The first actor to successfully break the hitherto ironclad contract system for performers was Cary Grant, who became a freelance actor-for-hire on a per film basis in 1937, after his original five-year exclusive deal with Paramount expired (as had the studio itself, in its first incarnation as Paramount Publix)” (Eliot).
>>0 >>1 >> 2 >> 3 >> 4 >> I’m No Angel His reasoning was “As much as the studios resented Grant, he resented them in turn for what he believed was their stubborn refusal to properly acknowledge via Oscar not only his individual success but all that the success of his movies meant to the industry. To him, their intentional slight was not only an offense to his ego but cost him (and them) potential millions in profits at the box office for the many pictures he not only starred in but owned a piece of; one of the truisms of Hollywood is that no matter how successful a film, the awarding of an Oscar significantly increases its profits” (Eliot).
>>0 >>1 >> 2 >> 3 >> 4 >> An Affair to Remember In the end, Grant’s gamble paid off. His career spanned over three decades and included 74 films. He was nominated for two Oscar’s and won one for “his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues” along with many other prestigious awards.
>>0 >>1 >> 2 >> 3 >> 4 >> The Talk of the Town Grant’s Influence: Clint Eastwood on Cary GrantClint Eastwood on Cary Grant "It's important to know where you've come from so that you can know where you're going. I probably chose my profession because I was seeking approval, adulation, admiration and affection."