In this podcast, Dr Ellen Wright has a discussion with film programmer at the BFI Southbank, Anna Bogutskaya.
The pair discuss the current Joan Crawford retrospective, ‘Fierce: the untameable Joan Crawford’ and associated public talk that Anna programmed.
Last week I got my finger nails painted ‘Jungle Red’ and headed down to the BFI Southbank to an afternoon of talks about the ultimate Hollywood star, subject of a major BFI retrospective and star of The Women (where her character Crystal wears the eponymous shade of polish) and Mildred Pierce – two Hollywood classics which will be on nationwide re-release next month – Joan Crawford.
The event was part of Fierce: The Untameable Joan Crawford, a two-month season ‘revelling in the formidable and versatile Hollywood star’ which runs between August and October and featured three female speakers (look mum, no mans!) Sight and Sound critic Pamela Hutchinson, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Queen Mary University of London Lucy Bolton and journalist and broadcaster Samira Ahmed. The three speakers all talked about their affection for Crawford and about various aspects of her stardom and performances. As I am just putting the finishing touches to a journal article about film star fan club magazines and invisible film star labour, which uses Crawford as a case study, I was keen to hear what these three experts had to say.
A couple of weeks ago I was part of an all-female panel discussion of the treatment of older women in Hollywood. The discussion followed a screening of the recent Paul McGuigan biopic Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpoolwhich charts the relationship between ageing Hollywood star Gloria Grahame and younger British actor Peter Turner.
I enjoyed the film very much and was excited to be asked by marketing assistant and my PhD supervisee, Becky Jones, to be part of the discussion event at the wonderful Phoenix cinema in Leicester.
The film itself was very good, beautifully shot and both Benning and Bell’s performances were excellent. It also raised a number of issues around the idea of the ageing female star and the broader treatment of women in Hollywood which really seemed to chime with the recent Weinstein allegations and the public debate around the #MeToo campaign.
A few months ago Llewella Chapman, PhD candidate at the University of East Anglia, asked me would I like to write a blog for the International Association for Media and History website. Its a cracking organisation so I excitedly agreed.
The International Association for Media and History (IAMHIST) is a scholarly organization which brings together media historians, media scholars and professionals with an interest in media history. You can find them on Twitter at @iamhist
My blog on the Hollywood Glamour Photograph appeared on the IAMHIST website last week and can be accessed here:
Considering Hollywood’s reliance upon photography between the teens and the 1960s, as a means of promoting, shaping and altering star images, the photographic representation of stars remains a peculiarly underdeveloped area of star studies. This is a real missed opportunity, as these images can offer considerable insights into the construction of film stardom and the pleasures Continue reading →