Paperback / softback
March 31, 2008
25 illus.
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
.9 Pounds (US)
$25.95 USD, £19.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Hollywood Ambitions

Celebrity in the Movie Age

Working with a varied and untraditional cast of characters—Wyatt Earp, Jack London, Clara Bow, Gertrude Stein, and Ida Lupino—author Marsha Orgeron examines the Hollywood ambitions of a fading western legend, a successful popular author, a poor Brooklyn girl turned flapper icon, a self-proclaimed avant-garde genius, and a frustrated actress on her way to becoming a director. Investigating their separate involvements with the expanding film industry, Orgeron illustrates the implications of film celebrity during the era in which cinema's impact was first felt. The aspirations of these individuals demonstrate the unifying role that the American motion picture capital played in shaping cultural notions of reputation, success, glamour, and visibility. Through extensive and unprecedented primary research and illuminating analyses of films, texts, and personal writings, each chapter provides new insight into its subject's dealings in the mythic city. Hollywood Ambitions affords a unique understanding of the tremendous diversity of the Hollywood experience and its allure in the first half of the cinematic century.

About the Author

MARSHA ORGERON is an assistant professor and director of film studies at North Carolina State University, where she teaches a range of courses focused on Hollywood history.


"Hollywood Ambitions is a fascinating study of how the cultural idea of Hollywood transformed notions of success, reputation, and celebrity in the first half of the twentieth-century."—Joanna Rapf, Quarterly Review of Film and Video


"We know that Hollywood captured the imagination of Clara Bow and Ida Lupino, but Marsha Orgeron surprises us in her revelation that Wyatt Earp, Jack London, and even Gertrude Stein were caught up in the excitement. Here is a most original study of how celebrity aspiration crossed the high-low divide."—Jane Gaines, professor of literature and English, Duke University

"Fascinating! Marsha Orgeron expands celebrity studies far beyond conventional star histories, tracing the Hollywood sojourns of a fantastic troupe of characters seeking to leave their mark on 20th-century American culture. A must-read in cinema history and celebrity culture studies."—Kathryn Fuller-Seeley, associate professor of communication, Georgia State University
Wesleyan University Press
Wesleyan Film

9780819568656 : hollywood-ambitions-orgeron
Paperback / softback
272 Pages
$25.95 USD

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