The Star Machine by Jeanine Basinger

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Synopsis

From one of our most distinguished film scholars, comes a rich, penetrating, amusing book about the golden age of movies and how the studios worked to manufacture stars.

With revelatory insights and delightful asides, Jeanine Basinger shows us how the studio “star machine” worked when it worked, how it failed when it didn't, and how irrelevant it could sometimes be. She gives us case studies focusing on big stars groomed into the system: the “awesomely beautiful” (and disillusioned) Tyrone Power; the seductive, disobedient Lana Turner; and a dazzling cast of others. She anatomizes their careers, showing how their fame happened, and what happened to them as a result. Deeply engrossing, full of energy, wit, and wisdom, The Star Machine is destined to become an classic of the film canon.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Jeanine Basinger

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Jeanine Basinger is the chair of film studies at Wesleyan University and the curator of the cinema archives there. She has written nine other books on film, including A Woman's View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930-1960; Silent Stars, winner of the William K. Everson Film History Award; Anthony Mann; The World War II Combat Film: Anatomy of a Genre; and American Cinema: One Hundred Years of Filmmaking, the companion book for a ten-part PBS series.







Author Residence: Middletown, CT
 
Published December 10, 2008 by Vintage. 586 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment, Professional & Technical, Computers & Technology. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Star Machine

Kirkus Reviews

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The author goes right to the heart of the matter in her examination of movie stars, those immortals walking the earth who define movie magic in all its baffling glory, like the ineffable, oft-ignored genius of somebody like Bing Crosby—“he’s got that meanness, plus a touch of larceny and the abil...

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The New York Times

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'The Star Machine,' by Jeanine Basinger: When the Studios Called the Shots, and the Close-Ups (October 31, 2007) Jeanine Basinger, whose book “The Star Machine” examines how the old Hollywood studio system once manufactured stars as if they were widgets, thinks they don’t make ’em like the...

Dec 30 2007 | Read Full Review of The Star Machine

The New York Times

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Basinger writes, “A-list stars and B-list stars, male stars, female stars, dog stars, child stars, character actor stars, western stars for low-budget westerns, horror film stars for horror films, and, always waiting in the wings to step in when the established stars got too uppity were youngster...

Oct 31 2007 | Read Full Review of The Star Machine

BC Books

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I wanted to write about the system of star making, about the “star machine” that evolved at the end of the silent era and “created” movie stars in the 1930’s, ‘40s, and ‘50s.” Instead of writing about onetime “star machine” actors that have been written about tirelessly and become legends — Cary ...

Nov 07 2007 | Read Full Review of The Star Machine

BC Books

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Much has been written about Hollywood's Studio System and the stars of the 1930s-1950s, but there has been little said about the machinery and formula that actually went into creating the stars adored by the public.

Oct 17 2007 | Read Full Review of The Star Machine

AV Club

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The Star Machine's title promises a dishy inside look at the dirty machinery of star-making in the studio era, and a voyeuristic exposé of the rough-and-tumble art of transforming mere mortals with clumsy names, podunk hometowns, and messy personal lives into glistening idols with studio-crafted ...

Nov 28 2007 | Read Full Review of The Star Machine

Entertainment Weekly

They were given fake noses, fake teeth, fake bios, and fake names.

Oct 19 2007 | Read Full Review of The Star Machine

The Moderate Voice

This marvelous description of star power comes early in Basinger’s The Star Machine, a thoroughly researched and delightfully written layer cake of a book about a business that Hollywood couldn’t even define but almost always succeeded in through a combination of astute planning, brilliant market...

Aug 27 2008 | Read Full Review of The Star Machine

Reader Rating for The Star Machine
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