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Stellar Encounters

Stellar Encounters

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Stellar Encounters

Stardom in Popular European Cinema

Edited by: Tytti Stoila

This book offers a collection of essays that make enquiries into aspects of stardom in Europe.

Publication date: January 2009
ISBN: 0 86196 679 1
Price: £ 22.50


Within the intertwined areas of film, TV and media research, studies of stardom have developed into a rich field with numerous approaches. This book offers a collection of essays that make enquiries into aspects of stardom in Europe, studying the significance of the subject, its particular incarnations and areas of possible research within film and TV. The essays enter into a dialogue with each other on many different crisscrossing levels from individual to national, from private (lives) to public (images) and from scholarly ground research to theoretical explanation. This book, based on contributions to the fourth Popular European Cinema Conference on “Methods and Stars”, was nominated Project of the Month by the Swedish Research Council in December 2007 in its capacity of a tribute to the importance of star studies and research in European cinema. The book expands on the seemingly contradictory question of why certain truly popular stars have become obliterated from hegemonic accounts of (European) film history. In doing so, this volume also exposes the equally vital impulse to connect stars to a specific national identity – through language and national memory, specific genres or classics in the national canon, stereotyping, other national media, and so on. Stardom may be international (or trans-national) and some stars may export better than others, but national audiences bond with what they perceive as “their” stars. Yet, some of the authors ask the more puzzling question of whether stars, or a star-system, actually exist in their country, pointing to the inescapable weight of the Hollywood model for film audiences and scholars alike. Authors: Alexander Dhoest (Belgium), Sonja de Leeuw (Utrecht), Elisabetta Girelli (Scotland), Susan Hayward (Exeter), Vinzenz Hediger (Bochum), Olof Hedling (Sweden), Gunnar Iversen (Trondheim), Harri Kalha, Anu Koivunen (Stockholm), Maaret Koskinen (Stockholm), Annette Kuhn (London), Kimmo Laine (Oulu), Marcia Landy (Pittsburgh), Leif Ove Larsen (Bergen), Paul Lesch (Luxembourg and Miami), Giuliana Muscio (Padua), Lydia Papadimitriou (Liverpool), Gill Plain (St Andrews), Alexandra Schneider (Berlin), Robert Shail (Lampeter), Maddalena Spazzini (Rome), Andrew Spicer (England), Tytti Soila (Stockholm).


Preface Ginette Vincendeau vii

Introduction Tytti Soila 1


Chapter 1 No stars in the Flemish flag: Flemish actors and national character, Alexander Dhoest

Chapter 2 René Deltgen – Luxembourg’s prodigal son?, Paul Lesch

Chapter 3 Avant-garde comedy and populism: the star image of comedian Rolv Wesenlund, Leif Ove Larsen

Chapter 4 The Hero as coat hanger: John Mills’s post-war “stardom”, Gill Plain

Chapter 5 Functionaries with hearts of gold: TV comedians as vernacular movie stars in Switzerland, Alexandra Schneider and Vinzenz Heidiger


Chapter 6 Charismatic ordinariness: Ullmann before Bergman, Gunnar Iversen

Chapter 7 From erotic icon to clan chief: the auteur as star, Maaret Koskinen

Chapter 8 “I am not Greta Garbo. I am not Marlene Dietrich. I am Isa Miranda”, Giuliana Muscio

Chapter 9 The historical specificity of stardom:Terence Stamp in the 1960s, Robert Shail

Chapter 10 The Mark of Cain: Eric Portman and British stardom, Andrew Spicer


Chapter 11 Simone Signoret: costume drama and the star text – a case study: Casque d’Or, Susan Hayward

Chapter 12 The case of Theodor Tugai: the filmstar and the factitious body, Harri Kalha

Chapter 13 Soulfulness, Sichtbarkeit and the sexual politics of national cinema, Anu Koivunen

Chapter 14 “Italy’s new Sophia Loren”: Sabrina Ferilli Maddalena Spazzini


Chapter 15 Stardom, Italian-ness and Britishness in post-war Britain, Elisabetta Girelli

Chapter 16 Film stars in 1930s Britain: a case study in modernity and femininity, Annette Kuhn

Chapter 17 Stardom and cultural identity in the Netherlands: the role of television in “democratising” stardom, Sonja de Leeuw

Chapter 18 Stars of the 1960s Greek musical: Rena Vlahopoulou and Aliki Vougiouklaki, Lydia Papadimitriou


Chapter 19 “Dear Miss Gagner!” – a star and her methods, Jan Olsson

Chapter 20 Yesterday, today, and tomorrow: tracking Italian stardom, Marcia Landy

Chapter 21 Celebrity culture and the preconditions for Finnish film stardom in the 1920s and 1930s, Kimmo Laine

Chapter 22 Possibilities of stardom in European cinema culture, Olof Hedling


Film and television programme lists

List of Authors



Tytti Soila is Professor in Cinema Studies and chair at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication at Stockholm University, Sweden.

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