Rise of the Star System

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  • Topic: Actor, Film, Movie star
  • Pages : 11 (1622 words )
  • Download(s) : 462
  • Published : November 13, 2010
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Page 1

During the early 1900s, many audiences were transfixed by the array of movie

experiences available, included was also the array of many actors and actresses who

were beginning to make a name for themselves.

As the popularity of the film studios grew so did the actors and actresses staring in

the films, directors and producers began to understand the vital role in

which the stars played. This knowledge also introduced procedures which saw to

produce a personality for the growing stars which would hide their personal lives but

appear as commercial as possible to their fans.

In 1909 The Moving Picture World wrote the first feature on a Actor named Ben

Turpin, who at the time was an acclaimed comedian, he allowed the studio to inform

the public about his private life, which in doubt made him look human and more

attainable, this was a clever strategy from owner and founder of The Moving Picture

World, Carl Laemmle.

While Carl embraced the making of stars and

sometimes used despicable tactics to increase his stars

popularity, across the way in another film studio

Adolph Zukor founder and owner of Paramount

Pictures was taking a completely different approach.

He stated time and time again that “ We can bring the

New York stage to towns and cities outside of

New York”. (Quote from “Paramount Pictures and the

people who built them” by I.G Edmonds). He meant

that he wanted to draw mass audiences from all works of life and have them

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mesmerized by his films, which can include the storyline, the visuals or simply the

stars themselves. It was at this time that Adolph Zukor found and employed Mary

Pickford, a young fresh faced actress, while other film makers established that a

younger more youthful face in their movies was the best way to gain an audience’s

approval and used actresses like Florence Lawrence and Linda Arvidson, who both

instantly became known as the Griffith Girl, the type of actresses or movie stars

audiences had come to expect on their screens. Adolph Zukor found that Mary

Pickford was his own Griffith Girl, she

was every bit a director at the time’s dream and

become one of the most recognisable

film stars to date. Mary Pickford was born Gladys

Smith in Canada 1893 and lived

without a father figure from the age of five and as

a child actress at the time became the main bread

winner for her family. During 1907, she was

discovered by David Belasco who instantly saw the potential in her, changed her name

to Pickford and offered her a position within Biograph Studios. At first she was

ridiculed for being fat but soon idolized as a Cinderella figure due to her own lost

childhood and a perfect portrayal of innocence in her films. She went on to release

many movies but did not taste real success until the release of “Tess of The Storm

Country”, where she plays a mother with a secret she can not tell the man who is in

love with her.

It was an instant success, audiences began to see what she was capable of and made

her the star of the time.
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As many stars like Mary Pickford became more and more recognizable, so did the

desire for their fans to want to know more about them. During this time fan based

magazines were created and featured everything audiences needed to know about their

stars, this included Interviews, Photos and Behind-the-scenes discussions. This paved

the way for many magazines including Motion Picture Story and

Photo play, the latter being the more popular due to its younger

fresher approach. This new crave also introduced new ways to the

films themselves, new lighting features where introduced to

highlight the stars, scenes were being broken

to different shots to show action far away as well as a close up,

each of these techniques aided in...
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