A star is born: the birth of Hollywood stardom

Course Dates: 01/03/25 - 08/03/25
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Online
Once cinema began to develop, Hollywood began to promote stardom. Starting with Florence Lawrence, the industry began to capitalise on star personalities and encourage fandom. This course will examine how the Hollywood star system began and evolved. The course will begin by examining the ‘picture personality’ in 1912 through to the collapse of the traditional star system in the 1960s.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £45.00

A star is born: the birth of Hollywood stardom
  • Course Code: HF157
  • Dates: 01/03/25 - 08/03/25
  • Time: 10:30 - 13:00
  • Taught: Sat, Daytime
  • Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)
  • Location: Online
  • Tutor: Ann-Marie Fleming

Course Code: HF157

Sat, day, 01 Mar - 08 Mar '25

Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This online film studies course explores the rise and fall of the traditional star system in Hollywood. We will be exploring the careers of a selection of stars that have been overtly shaped by the Hollywood star system and made an impact on the history and appreciation of film stardom.

We will follow a chronological order to assess the changes in the industry and to the star system. Additionally, we will closely analyse stars in a variety of materials (film, magazines and advertisements) to understand how a persona is formed and maintained. Key areas to be examined are: star theory, performance, and film history. The sessions will provide biographical information on the stars and their place within the wider historical and cultural landscape of film.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

Throughout the course, you will be introduced to new ways of looking and thinking about film stardom, including an introduction to star theory (commodity, myth, symbol, representation, performance, and audience). Secondly, you will evaluate how extra-textual materials (magazine articles, posters, and advertisements etc.) develop the personality seen on film.

The course is chronological and will follow the history of the star system. Stars will include: Joan Crawford, James Cagney, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, John Barrymore, Gloria Swanson, Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Louise Beavers, Hattie McDaniel, and Mae West.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- evaluate extra-textual evidence and understand how it shapes a star’s persona
- conduct a basic formal analysis of an individual star
- understand and accurately articulate specialist terms used in the language of film
- demonstrate skills in close textual analysis
- gain insights into star theory
- appreciate the impact of historical contexts in the formulation of a star persona.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is open to anyone with an interest and enthusiasm for the subject. No prior knowledge is necessary.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

There will be a short lecture with an accompanying PowerPoint. Secondly, film clips will be provided in the session and you will discuss these in both large and small groups. Lastly, there will be reading each week for further discussion and small group work.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There no other costs. A pen and paper or electronic device for making notes might be useful. Film scenes will be shown in the session.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other Film Studies classes under History, Culture and Writing at www.citylit.ac.uk.

Ann-Marie Fleming

Ann-Marie Fleming received her PhD in Film Studies from The University of Kent in 2019. She has taught multiple film courses on film history, style, and theory. She has published two articles in the Celebrity Studies Journal and a book chapter in Star Attractions, Twentieth-Century Movie Magazines and Global Fandom.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.