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Hollywood Reborn

Hollywood Reborn: Movie Stars of the 1970s

Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Hollywood Reborn
    Book Description:

    As studio and star systems declined in the 1970s, actors had more power than ever, and because many had become fiercely politicized by the temper of the times, the movies they made were often more challenging than before. Thus, just when it might have faded out, Hollywood was reborn-but what was the nature of this rebirth? Hollywood Reborn examines this question, offering new perspectives through the lens of important stars, and illuminating in the process some of the most fascinating and provocative films of the decade.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4952-1
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. Introduction: Stardom in the 1970s
    (pp. 1-15)

    Most accounts of American cinema in the 1970s define the era as a period of tectonic shift. In his large-scale history of the decade, David A. Cook argues that “the American film industry changed more between 1969 and 1980 than at any other period in its history except, perhaps, for the coming of sound” (Cook 1). The conglomeration of the studios, the dispersal of the mass audience, the widespread loss of confidence in traditional genre structures, the pressures on the industry to adapt its products to new social conditions radically different from those of Hollywood’s classical era—these many factors...

  4. 1 Jane Fonda: From Graylist to A-List
    (pp. 16-38)

    By 1970, Jane Fonda had been an international celebrity for nearly a decade, as a result of her prolific screen and stage work. During the 1960s, she acted in seventeen feature films in the United States and France, several Broadway plays, and a television special, while also working intermittently as a fashion model. Fonda catapulted to fame trailing a star persona that wedded her Hollywood pedigree (as the daughter of respected studio-era actor Henry Fonda) to a conventional model of stardom for attractive female performers in postwar America: the pin-up girl (Dyer,Stars66). Less fragile and more impudent than...

  5. 2 Robert Redford and Warren Beatty: Consensus Stars for a Post-Consensus Age
    (pp. 39-60)

    Two moments from two separate films reveal how much seventies Hollywood presented its often-confused political critiques in personalized terms.The Way We Were(1973) weaves a romance between leftist activist Katie (Barbra Streisand) and privileged collegiate jock Hubbell (Robert Redford). In their first direct encounter, Katie quips, “Look who’s here, America the beautiful.” The narrative will continue this connection between Hubbell/Redford’s looks and his White Anglo-Saxon Protestant social conformity. The second moment takes place in a crucial scene inShampoo(1975), in which Lester (Jack Warden) confronts George (Warren Beatty): “What? You get your kicks sneaking around other people’s backs,...

  6. 3 Al Pacino: From the Mob to the Mineshaft
    (pp. 61-81)

    Midway through John Badham’s landmark 1970s filmSaturday Night Fever(1977), after a long night burning up the dance floor at famed Brooklyn disco 2001 Odyssey, John Travolta’s Tony Manero lies sprawled out on his bed as the camera glides over his nearly naked body. Struggling to regain consciousness, Tony slowly rises from the bed to his dresser mirror and studies his appearance. Noticing his Al Pacino poster (fromSerpico[1973]) reflected in the mirror, he recalls being told that he “look[ed] like Al Pacino” by a young woman at the disco. As Tony compares his own image with Pacino’s,...

  7. 4 Jodie Foster and Brooke Shields: “New Ways to Look at the Young”
    (pp. 82-100)

    In 1979,Timefeatured thirteen-year-old Diane Lane on its cover, with an accompanying story touting a new wave of “Hollywood whiz kids”—young female performers “making their presence felt in films” (John Skow, “Hollywood Whiz Kids,” 13 August 1979, 64). The trend had begun early in the decade with Linda Blair’s appearance inThe Exorcist(1973) and Tatum O’Neal’s Oscar-winning performance inPaper Moon(1973). Despite the advent of the Spielberg boy inClose Encounters of the Third Kindin 1977 (see Pomerance), film critic John Skow characterized the trend as consisting entirely of young female stars, including Lane (A...

  8. 5 Richard Roundtree: Inventing Shaft
    (pp. 101-119)

    In the filmShaft(1971), a handsome male model named Richard Roundtree (b. 1942) provided an alternative image to the integrationist roles often portrayed by Sidney Poitier that Hollywood had favored throughout the 1960s. Motivated by thoughts of a black audience eager and ready to spend lavishly to see certain kinds of imagery, the production team at Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer (MGM) wanted an assertive black hero. Roundtree, an unknown actor hungry for success, played self-confident black masculinity without requiring the money or attention an established star would demand. He helped revive the character—made famous in classic film noir (1941–58)—of...

  9. 6 Shelley Winters: Camp, Abjection, and the Aging Star
    (pp. 120-137)

    By the 1970s, every Hollywood star from the first or second generation of the sound era still living and working presented a problem for the system: could they go on being stars, or would they inevitably fall into an unseemly decline that might undermine the notion of stardom itself? In other words, would their stubborn persistence expose the false idealism underlying the ideology of stardom? Few stars had ever been able to adapt gracefully to the fact of age, usually by accepting relatively marginal “character” parts, or moving into “grand old man” or “plucky old dame” roles (like Spencer Tracy...

  10. 7 Faye Dunaway: Stardom and Ambivalence
    (pp. 138-157)

    In the 1970s, at the height of her film career, Faye Dunaway seduces audiences with her large eyes, her mane of honey-brown hair, her regal cheekbones. Her voice, full and deep, is both supple and commanding. Her careful diction is uncommon; she sounds as if she might be a classically trained singer. While her manner can often be brisk and expedient, it is somehow always elegant. She is beautiful and poised, yet resolute and determined. Her obvious willingness to take risks—to “get her hands dirty”—as an actress helps to mitigate her potential remoteness. Dunaway is a star in...

  11. 8 Divine: Toward an “Imperfect” Stardom
    (pp. 158-181)

    Divine was prone to “glamour fits. The most iconic of these outbursts occurs inFemale Trouble(1974). After sauntering onstage in front of a cheering crowd, she throws an enraged and euphoric tantrum. She begins with leaps, pratfalls, and flips on a trampoline, then assaults the audience with flaunting poses, screamed obscenities, and onanistic gestures. She tears apart a phone book, writhes around in a baby crib filled with dead fish, and taunts the audience with a gun. She fires the weapon, kills at least one audience member, and runs out amid her panicking fan base. In her fits, Divine...

  12. 9 Julie Christie and Vanessa Redgrave: Performance and the Politics of Singularity
    (pp. 182-201)

    As candidates for critical evaluation, Julie Christie and Vanessa Redgrave constitute both an apropos and an unexpected pair. The mid-sixties crest of the British New Wave swept them both into stardom on both sides of the Atlantic, but nowhere onscreen have their paths intersected. Both actresses share a long history of allegiances to leftist and radical causes, and both have worked somewhat sporadically over the course of their spectacularly durable careers. It seems clearer in Redgrave’s case that the first circumstance has led directly to the second; nevertheless she has appeared in almost twice as many films as Christie during...

  13. 10 Donald Sutherland: The Politics and Erotics of Submission
    (pp. 202-225)

    When Donald Sutherland burst onto the American film scene with his portrayal of Hawkeye in the unexpected Robert Altman hitM*A*S*H(1970), the popular press couldn’t seem to agree on how best to characterize this new “un-Hollywood” star, fixing by turns on his Canadian background, his political activism, or his “funny peculiar” sense of humor (Dorothy Manners, “Sutherland—’Actors Should Be Involved in Pertinent Causes,’”L.A. Examiner Sunday,12 July 1970, n. p.; Douglas Marshall, “The Funniest Film Actor Canada Has Ever Produced,”Maclean’s, 1 September 1970, 42). After the release a few months later ofKelly’s Heroes(1970), it...

  14. In the Wings
    (pp. 226-232)

    Among the women cited as rising stars at the end of the seventies by Facts on File, the New York–based research publisher, were Brooke Adams, Ronee Blakley, Melinda Dillon, Carrie Fisher, Karen Lynn Gorney, Margaux Hemingway, Amy Irving, and Talia Shire (Sternberg 65). That none of these performers went on to achieve full-fledged stardom suggests, among other things, the schism between the seventies and the eighties in Hollywood. By 1980, the New Hollywood was a thing of the now-distant past, and while most of the nontraditional stars who emerged from it maintained their careers into the next decade, a...

    (pp. 233-238)
    (pp. 239-240)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 241-252)