Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/25205
Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The Screen Test 1915-1930: How Stars Were Born (Forthcoming/Available Online)
Authors: Ezra, Elizabeth
Salzberg, Ana
Contact Email: e.r.ezra@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: stardom
Louise Brooks
transnational
Hollywood
Europe
screen test
Issue Date: 16-May-2017
Citation: Ezra E & Salzberg A (2017) The Screen Test 1915-1930: How Stars Were Born (Forthcoming/Available Online), Celebrity Studies.
Abstract: This article examines the emergence of the screen test as a cultural phenomenon during the silent era in the US and Europe and its role in the development of the star system. The lore that grew up around the screen test almost from its inception held out the possibility for members of the public to cross a threshold into the rarefied world of celebrity. The screen test itself is situated in the liminal space not only between audience and actor, but also between fiction and non-fiction, Europe and Hollywood, the silent era and the talkies, and the public and private spheres. In order to trace the ways in which the screen test as such was narrativized and conceptualized in its foundational stages, this article will analyse accounts from Hollywood and European fan magazines of the silent era, including articles, short fiction, and early cinema apocrypha. The article culminates in a discussion of the film Prix de Beauté / Beauty Prize (Augusto Genina, 1930), which starred Louise Brooks, herself a transnational film icon whose film career spanned the divide between Hollywood and Europe. The film’s final scene, in which a beauty queen is shot dead by her jealous husband as she watches a screen test of herself, has been invoked by a number of film scholars as an allegory of the work performed by cinema, which preserves and disseminates the image of the star far beyond the actor’s physical presence. Speaking to historical conditions of star-making while also capturing its resonance in cultural mythology, the conclusion of Prix de Beauté allows us to consider the origins and functions of screen test discourse itself.
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19392397.2017.1312469
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Celebrity Studies on 16 May 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/19392397.2017.1312469.

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