Explores the reasons behind British cinema's failure to create its own stars. The text looks at the way theatre and music hall spawned their stars, and asks why so many of them found the transition to film so awkward. It compares the British star system with that of Hollywood. What sort of contracts were British stars offered? How much were they paid? Who dealt with their publicity? How did Britsh fans regard them? There are essays on key figures (Novello, Fields, Formby, Dors, Bogarde, Mason, Matthews), and assessment of how British stars fared in Hollywood, an analysis of the effects of class and regional prejudice on attempts at British star-making, and a survey of the British comedy tradition, and some of the questions about how genre affected the star system.
Geoffrey Macnab is a film writer who contributes to Sight and Sound, Moving Pictures International, and Time Out. He is the author of J. Arthur Rank and the British Film Industry.
Of knights and clowns; the not so roaring 20s...Ivor Novello and Betty Balfour; the king, the queen and the dancing divinity; carnival and consensus; stock types; exotic others; Lockwood, Calvert and some other contract artists; starmakers; the end of the studio era.