Hollywood Ambitions: Celebrity in the Movie Age

Marsha Orgeron
PhD, 2001
Wesleyan University Press, 2008

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.