By M. Williams

Because the golden period of silent video clips, stars were defined as reveal gods, goddesses and idols. this can be the tale of the way Olympus moved to Hollywood to divinise stars as Apollos and Venuses for the trendy age, and outlined a version of stardom that remains with us at the present time.

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When we add to this the more direct reference to divinity in star discourse, it truly does become ‘more than a manner of speaking’, to refer back to Parker Tyler once more. The nineteenth century also saw what we would identify as the celebrity interview growing in prominence. Although attributed to an innovation of James Gordon Bennett of the New York Herald in the 1840s, the form was popularised in Britain in the 1880s by William T. 37 This aspect would become crucial for the film star where interviews, along with a wealth of collectable images, would become a vital means of enabling the silent star to ‘speak’ to their fans and thus fill the void of their absence outside the cinema auditorium.

Such accounts speak of the inadequacy of language to describe what it is that stars do and the slippage between the real performer and mediated image that persists to the present today. Likewise, when we look at a work of sculpture, we behold the solidified trace of the model(s) that originally posed for it, at the same time that this trace enunciates that they are now lost to history. Fan-magazines attempt to give substance, to realise the presence of stars, but the process, like Penelope’s weaving as she awaits Odysseus’ return, is never completed.

12 Film fans should consider themselves lucky, in other words, to be witness to the birth of another Golden Age. 1). 13 The term was already highly conducive to appropriation by cinema, which could technically and discursively elevate this figure in the limelight to the more elusive creatures of light and shadow beheld at the cinematograph. In Britain, a definition Picturegoer offered its readers in 1917 clearly looks to the media of the past in casting the star as a luminous being of the present while expressing the kind of existential uncertainty as to the exact nature of the star’s form and presence already noted: We all know that a proper star is a luminous body in the heavens, and that it shines in the dark.

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