The Stars

By: Morin, Edgar (translated by Richard Howard)

Price: $20.00

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[some creasing in spine, minor edgewear to covers, light stain at left edge of rear cover]. (Evergreen Profile Book 7) Series Trade PB (B&W photographs) Originally published in France in 1957, this book is described on the cover as "an account of the star-system in motion pictures," but that makes it sound a good deal dryer and more purely "historical" than it actually is. While it certainly touches the major historical trends (and even throws in a two-page ready-reference list of "Chronological Landmarks" at the end), it's a much more wide-ranging exploration/meditation/analysis of movie stars as the "subjects of a cult that is one of the most curious social phenomena of the 20th century." Morin -- who, significantly, was not a "film critic" in any sense, but rather a philosopher and sociologist -- discusses the deeper meaning of such topics as fan mail and "star merchandise," using language and concepts that few American writers on film were employing at the time. Here, for example, is his take on fan clubs: "At the feet of each star rises, as if of its own accord, a chapel, i.e., a club. Some swell into cathedrals like the Luis Mariano club, which includes more than 20,000 zealots. [You may have to look up Luis Mariano -- I did -- but the example illustrates the book's not-completely-American focus] In the United States, each church periodically organizes pilgrimages to the great mother-Jerusalem, Hollywood." The author (who's actually still alive as of this writing, about to turn 94) devotes a full chapter to "The Case of James Dean," which certainly makes him one of the earliest serious analysts of the Dean cult. Say what you will about the French, they were onto something about the movies (especially American cinema) that it took most Americans quite a few years to catch up with.

Title: The Stars

Author: Morin, Edgar (translated by Richard Howard)

Categories: Cinema: History,

Edition: 2nd printing

Publisher: New York/London, Grove Press / Evergreen Books: 1961

Binding: Softcover

Book Condition: Near Fine

Seller ID: 21608

Keywords: Movie Stars Cult Figures Hollywood Film Criticism