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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

Male Stardom in Hollywood

This course will examine the history of male stardom within the Hollywood film industry, from the silent era to the present day, assessing the extent to which stars have embodied contemporary conceptions of gender, ethnicity and national identity.

Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando

The course will begin by asking questions such as ‘What makes a film star?', ‘How are they constructed to appeal to audiences?' and ‘How can they be seen to embody the tensions and desires of society?'

This will be followed by a historical overview of how the Hollywood film industry and film stars have changed in the last century in response to social, industrial and technological developments. The remaining weeks will be devoted to close analysis of key case studies, one for each decade from the 1920s to the 2000s, including Humphrey Bogart (1940s) Marlon Brando (1950s) and Robert De Niro (1970s). We will be discussing performances, promotion in newspapers, fan magazines, television interviews etc., and reception by critics, in order to get a sense of how a star persona was constructed through these sources.

In the concluding session of the course, students will be given the opportunity to consider a film star case study of their own choice, applying the knowledge and skills of analysis gained from the course to the analysis of a film clip or another artefact (article, film trailer, promotional images etc.) that has shaped the persona of their chosen star.

This is a Film Studies course, which focuses on theory, concepts and analysis rather than film viewings.


Date: Thursday evenings, starting 6 February 2014
Time: 7 - 9 pm
Duration: 12 meetings


Avenue Campus

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