Conference Abstracts and Biographies

Welcome and introduction

Don MacRaild is Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. A historian by training, Don has written or edited a dozen books, including most recently The English Diaspora in North America (2016), Ribbon Societies in 19th Century Ireland and its Diaspora (2018) and (as co-editor) British and Irish Diasporas (2018). History students might know him best for co-authoring Studying History, a primer for the study of the subject which has run through four editions since 1996. He has held chairs in New Zealand, Northern Ireland and England and has won major grants from AHRC, ESRC and Leverhulme (twice). He is currently completing a co-authored book The Death Census of Black ’47: Eye-Witness Accounts of Ireland’s Great Famine, which emerged from the latest Leverhulme-funded project and will appear in 2021.
Karen McNally is Reader in American Film, Television and Cultural History at London Metropolitan University.She is the author of When Frankie Went to Hollywood: Frank Sinatra and American Male Identity (University of Illinois Press, 2008) and The Stardom Film: Creating the Hollywood Fairy Tale (Wallflower-Columbia University Press, 2020), the editor of Billy Wilder, Movie-Maker: Critical Essays on the Films (McFarland, 2011) and American Television during a Television Presidency (Wayne State University Press, 2022) and co-editor of The Legacy of Mad Men: Cultural History, Intermediality and American Television (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). Karen has also presented and published widely in both book chapters and journals including the European Journal of American CultureJournal of American Studies and Film & History

Panel 1: Race, Gender and Performance

Chair: Jen Atkins, Florida State University
Jen Atkins earned the Jules & Frances Landry Award for outstanding achievement in the field of southern studies for her book, New Orleans Carnival Balls. She co-edited the two-volume Perspectives on American Dance, co-chairs the national Popular Culture Association conference dance area, and teaches dance history at Florida State University. Her research focuses on gender, race, and class in social dance practices – often in her hometown of New Orleans or in American popular culture – as well as how to enliven dance history through innovative pedagogical approaches.

Performing Otherness in Fame (1980)
Marie Bennett, University of Winchester
Director Alan Parker has explained that Fame (1980) was never meant to be a documentary-style film of the life of students attending the High School of Performing Arts in New York, but rather "a theatrical vision of life at the school". This ‘vision’ centres primarily on the positive and negative experiences of eight students who are in one of the school’s three departments, namely drama, music and dance. The movie starts by showing various auditions of teenagers wishing to gain entry into the school, and finishes with an end-of-term performance by those who were accepted and who are now preparing to leave. Rick Altman categorises Fame as a "Show Musical", a subgenre also known as the backstage musical (1987: 378). Jane Feuer argues that backstage musicals have ‘dual levels’ that are "apparent in the contrast… between the world onstage and world offstage" (1982/1993: 69), and this distinction is similarly apparent in Fame, given the disparity between many of the students’ bleak "offstage" reality and the optimistic "onstage" future signified by the school.
     In this paper, I will focus on the audition of the featured male dancer, Leroy (Gene Anthony Ray). As I argue, Leroy’s Black body is initially put on display in a way that presents him as Other and ‘exotic,’ an object of desire for those watching him.  In addition, his talent as an African-American dancer is stereotyped as ‘natural,’ given that he did not formally apply to audition for the school. Furthermore, he is initially presented in a way that overstates his macho masculinity.  However, I will argue that Leroy’s performance allows opportunities for a homoerotic interpretation, despite efforts to stress the appreciative reactions of some of the female panel members and onlookers.
Author biography
Marie Josephine Bennett (M.Mus) is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Winchester. Her research focuses on critical readings of queer performance in a number of mainstream post-Production Code Hollywood film musicals released between 1970 and 1980. Her major areas of interest and research are Hollywood film musicals, music in films, queer studies, celebrity studies, popular music of the 1960s-1980s, and the Eurovision Song Contest. Publications include ‘Inviting Other Hearings’ in Dago Schelin and Luciana Martha Silveira (eds.), Cinema Invites Other Gazes (2016) and ‘Mercury’s Message to Go On With the Show’ in Marie Josephine Bennett and David Gracon (eds.) Music and Death: Interdisciplinary Readings and Perspectives (2019).

“It Takes a Legend to Make a Star”: Interrogating Femininity and Stardom in the Contemporary Musical’s Showgirl Narrative
Eleonora Sammartino, University of Greenwich
The showgirl narrative has always been central in the Hollywood musical, closely intertwined with the syntax of the show musical and the self-reflexive nature of the genre (Feuer 1993; Altman 1987). Such a trope can still be traced in contemporary examples, increasingly reliant on the presence of pop stars in leading roles that amplify the connection between a performative femininity and the constructedness of stardom. As a key element of this narrative, the transformation of the showgirl from small-town girl to star in the big city implies the self-commodification of her image through the modification of her appearance and body in a process that crosses from the stage to the “stylization of the body” in everyday life (Dyer 2004; Tasker 1998).
     This presentation will focus on musicals such as Evita (A. Parker, 1996), Dreamgirls (B. Condon, 2006), and, in particular, Burlesque (S. Antin, 2010) to explore the reworking of this trope in relation to contemporary socio-cultural debates on gender and stardom. While the self-commodification of the showgirl image in these texts speaks to both postfeminist values and celebrity culture, such as the self-regulation of the body, the analysis of key numbers and paratexts will question heteronormative configurations of femininity.
     Noticeably, the introduction of burlesque in the eponymous film, as a live performance genre characterised by parody and satire since its origins, opens up femininity to more fluid gender boundaries through musical numbers that play on dress codes and the star image of the performers. The paper will further consider the importance of extra-textual meanings associated with pop stars such as Cher and Christina Aguilera not only as they inform the performance of gender in the film, but also as they allow for a reflection on the role of the musical within a porous media economy marked by synergy.
Author biography
Eleonora Sammartino is a Sessional Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Greenwich, the University of Reading, and Imperial College London. She holds a PhD from King’s College London (2018) with a thesis on the relationship between gender representation and contemporary American film musicals. She has published on musicals in the European Journal of American Studies and the collection Musicals at the Margins (eds. Lobalzo Wright and Shearer 2021). She has also contributed to the Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies and is currently co-editing (with Alice Guilluy) a special issue of Celebrity Studies on Hugh Grant’s stardom.

Melodramatic Reversals in American Backstage Television Series
Pierre-Olivier Toulza, Université de Paris-Diderot
The musical television series that have been produced for more than a decade illustrate the many faces of the entertainment worlds (the shows focus on choir groups, stage shows, fictional music companies...), and perpetuate as well as criticise the core myths of American entertainment. Since these television shows dramatise the lives and career paths of the performers and the professionals of the entertainment industries, both off stage and onstage, they often emphasise melodramatic plots and archetypes, in their narratives as well as in their musical numbers.
     This presentation aims at investigating racial dynamics in melodramatic moments and episodes of backstage musical series such as Glee (FOX, 2009-2015), Empire (FOX, 2015-2020) and Nashville (ABC and CMT, 2012-2018). The presentation will focus on melodramatic shifts and reversals in these shows, in order to explore the ways in which the genre negotiates a changing social and political context, oscillating between post-racial America and the widening of racial tensions in American society. This paper will consider both narrative and spectacular strategies of melodramatic reversal in these shows, explicitly connected to racial contradictions or tensions. In some episodes, racial dynamics and politics are firstly emphasised (in the narratives and in the musical performances) before being suddenly downplayed and removed ; in others the suffering of black victims are highlighted before being unexpectedly replaced by spectacular musical performances of white characters.
Author biography
Pierre-Olivier Toulza is Assistant Professor at Université de Paris where he teaches Film History and Aesthetics. His research focuses on classical Hollywood cinema, on Hollywood genres (mainly the melodrama and the musical), and on seriality in American cinema and television. He is the author of Backstage: scènes et coulisses des séries musicales (Presses universitaires François Rabelais, 2021) and Homeland: les complots contre l'Amérique (Atlande, forthcoming 2021). He recently edited Politiques du musical hollywoodien (Presses universitaires de Paris Nanterre, 2020) with Aurélie Ledoux and Star Turns in Hollywood Musicals (Presses du réel, 2017) with Marguerite Chabrol.

Panel 2: Star Texts

Chair: Marguerite Chabrol, Université Paris 8
Marguerite Chabrol is a Professor of Film Studies at Université Paris 8 in France. Her research tackles intermediality in film, more specifically the relations between theatre and film in classical Hollywood cinema, with a star studies-based approach. She studied the cultural and aesthetical stakes of transfers of straight plays between Broadway and Hollywood in two books: De Broadway à Hollywood (CNRS Editions, 2016) and Katharine Hepburn. Paradoxes de la comédienne (PUR, 2019). She is currently interested in the musical and recently published a French critical edition of Jane Feuer, co-edited with Laurent Guido (Mythologies du film musical, Presses du Réel, 2016). She also co-edited with Pierre-Olivier Toulza, Star Turns in Hollywood Musicals (Presses du Réel, 2017).

Ann Miller as All-American Star: Virtuosity, Exoticism and “that crazy tom-tom beat”
Catherine Haworth, University of Huddersfield
The Texan tap dancer and self-described ‘star lady’ Ann Miller enjoyed a long and consistent career in Hollywood musicals. Rarely cast as romantic lead, and instead appearing as vamp or comedienne, Miller tended to feature in speciality roles designed to explore her own star persona as one of the fastest tappers in the business. With her legs reportedly insured for a million dollars, Miller’s strong association with the Black form of tap and her energetic physical and vocal performance style formed the basis of both her appeal to casting executives and her disruption of typical constructions of white femininity. Her numbers, including notable appearances in Hey, Rookie (1944), On The Town (1949), Small Town Girl (1953), and Hit The Deck (1955), frequently incorporated deliberate musical signifiers of "non-white" ethnicity to further codify Miller’s presence as liminal. Her performances were staged to overlap with the physical strength, virtuosity, and glamourous exoticism of her star image in ways that aimed not only to commodify these attributes, but also to contain them.
     The kind of slippage we see between star and role in much of Miller’s work is always present in film, but it is perhaps especially obvious in the musical’s world of pleasurable, professional entertainment. The backstage musical makes it a particular feature, but the genre’s overall emphasis on authenticity and transparency ensures that ‘real world’ personae never feel too far from the screen. This paper explores the ways in which Miller’s onscreen musical numbers both promote and efface the ‘problems’ of her offscreen personality, focusing in particular on often explicitly racist discourses of exoticism and authenticity. The dual threat and attraction that Miller’s virtuosic body held for Hollywood – and its strategies to both exploit and efface her star presence – typify both the musical’s celebration of spectacular, individualised virtuosity and its intense anxieties around difference.
Author biography
Catherine Haworth is Course Leader for Music at the University of Huddersfield. Her research focuses on musical practices of representation and identity across various media, with a particular interest in film and television music. Catherine has published on topics including scoring the female detective in 1940s Hollywood; music, gender, and medical discourse; women and music in James Bond; and celebrity culture in the film musical. She edited a special edition of Music, Sound and the Moving Image on gender and sexuality, and the collection Gender, Age and Musical Creativity.

Rehearsing Identity: the Hayworth star persona from ‘front stage’ to ‘back stage’ to ‘off stage’
Searle Kochberg, University of Portsmouth
In his 1959 book, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Goffman evokes the metaphor of a theatrical production as a way of understanding human behaviour and interaction. He argues that social life is a performance carried out in three places: ‘front stage’, ‘back stage’, and ‘off stage’.
     Building also on Dyer’s book on Stars (1979), this paper argues that Goffman’s categories of performance can be applied metaphorically to the performance of musical film stars, whereby the personae affect an ideological project that bleeds from ‘front of stage’, to the ‘wings’ to ‘backstage’ and ‘off stage’, all to apparently reconcile aspects of culture that cannot be reconciled in real life.
     In the history of the American ‘love goddess’ on film, Rita Hayworth’s 1940s star persona marks an interesting transition between the ’30s (very) ‘white’ Anglo Blonde Jean Harlow, and the ’50s (also very) ‘white’ Anglo Marilyn Monroe. This paper proposes that the Hayworth Latin/Anglo Good-Bad Girl persona (after Wolfenstein and Leites 1950) is perfectly tuned to America’s ‘Good Neighbour Sam’ policy, apparently at ‘peace’ with its policy of integration with Latin neighbours and their cultures, whilst at the same time maintaining its separation with its ‘peaches and cream’ view of itself. Cine audiences are afforded a mixture of public Latin persona ‘front of stage’ and a more Anglo persona in the ‘wings’ and ‘backstage’. In so doing the Hayworth star vehicle allows for an apparent reconciliation of Anglo versus Latin personae at a time when that suits the ideological agenda of American entertainment.
     As Monroe’s presence is felt on the screens in the next decade – in the heady days of McCarthy and Eisenhower – all-American whiteness is seen once more to be on the ascendancy.
Author biography
I am a maker and writer on cinema and other performing arts, and have a practice-based PhD from the University of Portsmouth in co-creative documentary practice (2019). This work builds on previous research projects, Rainbow Jews (2012-14, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund) and Ritual Reconstructed (2014-16, funded by AHRC, as part of the Connected Communities strand).
     My short films have included Leaving the Table (2007) and L'Esprit de l'Escalier (2010) and a mixed animation/live action docudrama on Leon Trotsky entitled Dream Life of Debris (2016). I have co-written and edited the textbook, Introduction to Documentary Production (2002) and contributed to Introduction to Film Studies (2012), Promotion in the Age of Convergence (2013) and Queer Localities Across Britain (2021). My one play, Isle of Joy, a musical, was produced by the Operating Theatre Company in 2007.

Panel 3: Industry Contexts

Chair: Mike Chopra-Gant, London Metropolitan University
Mike Chopra-Gant is a senior lecturer in media, culture and communication. He is the author of three books on film and television history and teaches media, film and television, and photojournalism. He is currently working on a book about domestic photography and gender. 

Policy Matters vs. the Production Code: Tracing Hollywood’s Self-Representation in the 1930s
Justin Gautreau, University of California, Merced
This paper examines how the establishment the Production Code Administration complicated the film industry’s tradition of defending itself on screen. In response to growing public hostility against Hollywood in the early 1920s, studio heads banded together to establish the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. Aside from “establishing and maintaining the highest possible moral and artistic standards in motion picture production,” the MPPDA focused on “diffusing accurate and reliable information with reference to the industry,” which in part led to a cluster of studio films depicting the industry as a wholesome place full of hardworking people, including HollywoodSouls for Sale, and Merton of the Movies. Diffusing accurate and reliable information also entailed keeping a close eye on what the MPPDA considered misinformation about its business. In the spirit of what was known as “industry good and welfare,” most filmmakers dared not bite the hand that fed them. Those who attempted to do otherwise didn’t get very far, as Howard Hughes’s unproduced Queer People (1930) exemplified most dramatically.
     Not long after its consolidation, the Production Code Administration – a branch of the MPPDA – found itself struggling to justify its rejection of films based solely on their negative treatment of the industry. After all, the PCA’s role was to enforce the Production Code, not industry policy per se. Nevertheless, throughout the 1930s and into the 1940s, the PCA either rejected or demanded major revisions of film projects that threatened the industry’s image, including Hollywood Boulevard (1936), The William Desmond Taylor Murder Case (1937) Hollywood Bandwagon (1938), and Detour (1945)Hollywood Boulevard in particular prompted the MPPDA to rethink the relationship between the Production Code and industry policy. This paper will explore how the industry got away with this double standard and continued to maintain control over its onscreen representation.
Author biography
Justin Gautreau is Lecturer for the Merritt Writing Program at the University of California, Merced, where he also teaches classes in film. His book The Last Word: The Hollywood Novel and the Studio System was published by Oxford University Press in 2020, and his work has also appeared in Genre and Adaptation.

The Rock Music Business Films: Industrialisation, Exploitation, and Stardom
Julie Lobalzo Wright, University of Warwick
As Karen McNally noted in The Stardom Film, ‘screen narratives concerned with stardom reach into the history of Hollywood filmmaking as far back as the pre-studio era’ (2021: 2). Not as far back, but still deep-rooted in Hollywood, are the stardom narratives concerned with popular music stars that are focused on, not the filmmaking business, but the music business. These films range from early musical films featuring fictional musicians, such as the Bing Crosby vehicle, Sing You Sinners (Wesley Ruggles, 1938), through to bio-pics inspired by real-life artists, like 1950’s Young Man With a Horn (Michael Curtiz), based on jazz cornetist, Bix Beiderbecke. In the 1950s, these films added the corrupting presence of the record industry, frequently presenting the uneasy relationship between art and commerce through the exploitative music industry and the seedy individuals’ intent on making a fast buck through the newest young musical discovery. Two of Elvis’ 1950s films follow this exploitative path (Loving You (Hal Kanter, 1957); Jailhouse Rock (Richard Thorpe, 1957)), but it is in the 1960s and 1970s when the popular music industry is developed and thriving that the perception that, as Simon Frith puts it, ‘the music industry is a bad thing- bad for music, bad for us’ (1988: 11) is cemented. This paper will, therefore, examine various rock industry films that illustrate the industrialisation of rock ‘n’ roll/rock music, including A Star is Born (Frank Pierson, 1976), The Rose (Mark Rydell, 1979) and Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe, 2000), arguing that these films present music stardom as unique when compared to Hollywood stardom. I will also consider a how the industrialisation of the music industry can also be viewed as political through the recent film, One Night in Miami (Regina King, 2020), and Sam Cooke’s role as a record label owner.
Author biography
Julie Lobalzo Wright is an Assistant Professor in Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick. She has recently published Musicals at the Margins: Genre, Boundaries, Canons (co-edited with Martha Shearer) (Bloomsbury, 2021), a chapter on the concert stage and tour in 1970s Hollywood films in Mapping the Rockumentary: Images of Sound and Fury, editors Gunnar Iverson and Scott MacKenzie (Edinburgh, 2021), and her monograph, Crossover Stardom: Popular Male Music Stars in American Cinema is available in paperback (Bloomsbury, 2019). 

The Starmaker on the Screen: David O. Selznick and the Figure of the Producer in A Star Is Born (1937) and The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) 
Milan Hain, Palacký University 
In the paper I will consider two Hollywood films that are undoubtedly part of the backstudio picture canon – the original version of A Star Is Born (1937) and Vincente Minnelli’s The Bad and the Beautiful (1952). Specifically, I wish to focus on the figure of the producer, who, I believe, was in both cases modelled upon – or at least significantly inspired by – David O. Selznick. In A Star Is Born, independently produced by Selznick who also contributed to the screenplay, Adolphe Menjou plays Oliver Niles, the head of a Hollywood studio who is presented as a sympathetic figure, wisely guiding the rising star Vicki Lester (Janet Gaynor). Interestingly, Niles’ star-making philosophy is very similar to how Selznick himself would within a few years manage his impressive star roster which by 1940 included Ingrid Bergman, Vivien Leigh, and Joan Fontaine. MGM’s The Bad and the Beautiful, by contrast, presents the producer Jonathan Shields (played with his typical verve by Kirk Douglas) as an ambivalent person, creative and highly competent, but also ruthless and inconsiderate to other people’s emotions. Even though Selznick claimed that the character related to him “only in insignificant details,” there are many parallels between the two including their egoism and similar family history, with much of their zeal attributable to their mission to succeed where their fathers – also film producers – had failed. In the paper I will present a comparison of A Star Is Born and The Bad and the Beautiful focused on the figure of the producer and discuss the way both films relate to the mythical, larger-than-life persona of David O. Selznick. 
Author Biography 
Milan Hain, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor and Area Head of Film Studies at the Department of Theater and Film Studies at Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. Former Fulbright visiting researcher at University of California, Santa Barbara, he’s the author of Hugo Haas a jeho (americké) filmy [Hugo Haas and His (American) Films] and editor and co-author of three other books on cinema.His most recent articles have been published in Jewish Film and New Media (on Hugo Haas and survivor guilt, JFNM 7.1) and Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance (on David O. Selznick’s adaptation of Anna Karenina, JAFP 13.3). Currently, he’s finishing a long-time research project on producer David O. Selznick and his contract stars. He runs a personal website at

Keynote Address: And They Lived Happily Ever After: Tarantino’s Rewriting of Hollywood’s History

Steven Cohan, Syracuse University
During its long history as a genre, the backstudio picture has recounted key moments in the history of Hollywood filmmaking. Generally speaking, aside from biopics these accounts set fictional characters in major events like the coming of sound or the HUAC hearings and the blacklist. However, while writing my book, Hollywood by Hollywood (2018), I did not come upon fictional backstudios that intentionally posit an alternate, fantastic history for Hollywood in the past – which makes Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood (2019) highly unusual for the genre. My talk will in effect be a coda to my book.
     Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood occurs in 1969, an historical era visualised onscreen with careful and vivid attention to recreating the look of this time period; and it uses a known Hollywood person as a major character, one whose off-screen life has since become somewhat mythic for pop culture because of the nature of her death: Sharon Tate, a victim of the Manson family that cut short her life. The film gives her a happy ending, reversing the course of her real life.
In my talk I will look more closely at this rewriting of the past to examine the various displacements, erasures, and fictional maneuvers necessary for Tarantino’s alternate history to be effected. I will consider, for instance, how the film pays scant attention to the industrial and cultural tumults that were evident in 1969, concentrating everything that threatens the stability of Hollywood in the hippie movement; the Manson followers are hippies turned terrorists. But even more than revising the events on Cielo Drive in August 1969, I will argue that a nostalgic celebration of the masculine ethos of sixties television is what really drives this Hollywood fairy tale that Tarantino is spinning about the buddy relation of Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, two sides of the same straight, white, middle-aged male persona.
Author biography
Steven Cohan is Dean’s Distinguished Professor Emeritus in English at Syracuse University and a past president of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. He has taught and lectured on multiple aspects of classical Hollywood. His books include Screening the Male: Exploring Masculinities in Hollywood Cinema  (1993 and The Road Movie Book (1997), both coedited with Ina Rae Hark, Masked Men: Masculinity and the Movies in the Fifties (1997), The Hollywood Musical (2002), Incongruous Entertainment: Camp, Cultural Value, and the MGM Musical (2005), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2008), The Sound of Musicals (2010), Hollywood by Hollywood: The Backstudio Picture and the Mystique of Making Movies (2018), and Hollywood Musicals (2019). In addition to his essays in numerous collections, his work has appeared in ScreenCamera ObscuraCelebrity Studies, and Cinema Journal. His newest book on Sunset Boulevard for the BFI Film Classics series is forthcoming from Bloomsbury in September 2022.

Panel 4: Production Contexts

Chair: Eleonora Sammartino, University of Greenwich
Eleonora Sammartino is a Sessional Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Greenwich, the University of Reading, and Imperial College London. She holds a PhD from King’s College London (2018) with a thesis on the relationship between gender representation and contemporary American film musicals. She has published on musicals in the European Journal of American Studies and the collection Musicals at the Margins (eds. Lobalzo Wright and Shearer 2021). She has also contributed to the Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies and is currently co-editing (with Alice Guilluy) a special issue of Celebrity Studies on Hugh Grant’s stardom.

Whom Zeus Wishes to Destroy: Xanadu, Zoetrope, and Hollywood General Studios
Martha Shearer, University College Dublin
The Hollywood musical has long been fascinated with what goes on behind the scenes, with displaying visions of how successful entertainment is produced, with arguing for the value of entertainment, and with defining the limits of what constitutes entertainment. Xanadu (1980) recapitulates these preoccupations. Despite focusing on both a record label where artists are employed to paint enlargements of album covers and a roller disco, the film repeatedly invokes the tropes of what Steven Cohan calls the “backstudio picture,” inviting us to read those sites as stand-ins for the film studio. In this paper I read the film’s narrative of the successful production of entertainment by artists frustrated by executive control against the narrative also taking place at the studio where the film was shot, Hollywood General Studios. Throughout Xanadu’s production, Francis Ford Coppola was in negotiations to buy that studio, which would soon after become Zoetrope Studios. His purchase was made possible, according to Jon Lewis, by the studio’s poor condition, which lowered its price and offered Coppola “the opportunity to reshape things” to suit his own, ultimately doomed, vision of a studio both nostalgic in its echoes of the studio era (including hiring Xanadu star Gene Kelly as a consultant) and modern in its auteurist control. I argue that there are striking parallels between Xanadu’s onscreen behind-the-scenes narrative and the actual narrative taking place behind the scenes of the film’s production and that Xanadu, a notorious failure made at a tumultuous time for both the musical and the industry more broadly, expresses a desire for both creative control and a revival of the studio backlot that had enabled the musical to flourish in the studio era and, in a genre preoccupied with success/failure dynamics, for the commercial success that so eluded the film (and the genre) itself.
Author biography
Martha Shearer is Assistant Professor and Ad Astra Fellow in Film Studies at University College Dublin. She is the author of New York City and the Hollywood Musical: Dancing in the Streets (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and co-editor, with Julie Lobalzo Wright, of Musicals at the Margins: Genre, Boundaries, Canons (Bloomsbury, 2021). She is currently co-editing Women and New Hollywood for Rutgers University Press and working on a monograph project on real estate and contemporary US film and television.

From Revue to Songbook Musical: Adaptive Tensions in MGM’s The Band Wagon (1953)
Dominic Broomfield-McHugh, University of Sheffield
MGM’s The Band Wagon (1953) merges aspects of the songbook musical with the backstage musical. In other words, it brings together a catalogue of songs by a specific composer (Arthur Schwartz) and lyricist (Howard Dietz) in the manner of Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and the Freed-Brown songbook, in a narrative focused on life behind the scenes of a Broadway musical. Yet the film also engages loosely with adaptation: it uses the star (Fred Astaire), several songs, and a theatrical form (the revue) of a stage musical of the same name, The Band Wagon (1931).
     In this paper, I address the complications of turning the stage Band Wagon into the film Band Wagon, acknowledging that there are more points of overlap between the projects than has been admitted. I focus in particular on a document that reveals a contractual obligation for MGM not to reproduce aspects of staging and framing from the stage musicals on which their film is based, and how the studio addressed these concerns. Lastly, I focus on “Shine on Your Shoes,” considering how the need to satisfy both a new narrative context and get away from the original usage of the song on stage resulted in shifts of power related to race and gender.
Author biography
Dominic Broomfield-McHugh is Professor in Musicology and Faculty Director of Knowledge Exchange and Impact in the Arts and Humanities at the University of Sheffieland the author or editor of seven books on musicals, including Loverly: The Life and Times of “My Fair Lady” (2012), Alan Jay Lerner: A Lyricist’s Letters (2014), The Letters of Cole Porter (2019), and The Big Parade: Meredith Willson’s Musicals from “The Music Man” to “1491” (2021). He co-edited a special issue of Studies in Musical Theatre focused on Sondheim and has convened four international conferences concerning musicals. He is also the series editor of Oxford’s Guides to Film Musicals and has worked with leading organizations including the Library of Congress, Lincoln Center, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. He worked with Dame Julie Andrews on the Sydney Opera House revival of My Fair Lady and with Kevin Kline at Lincoln Center. He has made more than forty appearances on BBC radio and television, and his research has been used in several professional productions, as well as being covered by major outlets such as the New Yorker, the Sunday Times, and the Washington Post.

The Fault in Our Star: Keira Knightley and the Authenticity of Begin Again
Carlos Menéndez-Otero, University of Oviedo
Over a span of ten years, the former Irish musician John Carney wrote and directed a tryptic of backstage musical films made up of Once (2006), Begin Again (2013), and Sing Street (2016). Even though the three were written and directed by him, explore the process of musical creation, and tell rather similar stories, Begin Again paradoxically remains both the highest-grossing instalment of the tryptic and the least beloved by critics, audiences, and the filmmaker himself.
     The paper aims to look beyond the infamous 2016 interview in which Carney related his dissatisfaction with Begin Again to the supermodel attitude of the film’s star, Keira Knightley, while shooting it in New York in 2012. We purport to examine how her presence in the film, star persona and (feeble) musical skills would have boosted Carney’s pre-existing doubts about a medium-budget project that from the start seemed hard to reconcile with the Irish director’s alleged independence, artistic integrity, and staunch commitment to guerrilla filmmaking and documentary authenticity.
     More specifically, we will discuss whether and to what extent the authenticity of the film’s depiction of an uncompromising singer-songwriter and the dealings of the US music industry was compromised by the fact that, unlike the indie-produced, low-budget OnceBegin Again was 1) a studio project whose production and release demanded substantial compromise from the filmmaker, including a distribution deal with the now disgraced Harvey Weinstein, 2) a $9 million production that needed to appeal to a wide audience in order to recoup its costs, and 3) a star vehicle for Keira Knightley, an actor who had no previous music experience and whose star persona embodied the mirror opposite of the kind of filmmaking espoused by Carney.
Author biography
Carlos Menéndez-Otero holds PhDs in English studies and in communication and journalism, and he is an associate professor at the University of Oviedo, Spain. His main research relates to the Irish audiovisual industry and the Anglo-American classic film about Ireland, on which he has published over twenty papers and the book Irlanda y los irlandeses en el cine popular (1910– 1970) (2017). Other interests include Irish and Irish-American history and culture, dubbing, television series, and regional television.

Panel 5: Hidden Hollywood

Chair: N. T. Binh, Independent Scholar and Positif
N. T. Binh is former senior lecturer in Film Studies at the Paris 1 Sorbonne University. Film critic for the French monthly magazine Positif (under the penname of Yann Tobin), documentary filmmaker, curator of exhibitions about cinema, author or editor of more than 25 books, including works on Ernst Lubitsch, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Ingmar Bergman, British cinema, and movie musicals.

Fighting for Visibility in the Hollywood Star System: The fading star in Feud (2017)
Elisenda Díaz Garcés, Autonomous University of Barcelona
This study aims to understand the discourses related to being a fading star in Hollywood 1960’s through the series Feud (Murphy, 2017). While the feud between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis has been commonly seen as feminine dispute caused by jealous and power anxiety; the series Feud places this seemingly personal conflict in a complicated situation governed by external rules of the Hollywood Star System; gender, aesthetic and ageist rules. This study aims to expose the invisibility the system condemns the star to fade out, and against which they rebel, through the construction of the star persona depicted in the series. Feud shows the different faces that conforms the star: the professional actress, the character, and the public and private person. Therefore, this analysis would consider all these intersections: the actress aged 50 looking for a “significant” role and finally performing the role of grotesque, disabled and mad old women (Brooks, Chivers and Russo). The media, press and public image that have a power, which can both use them and be used by them. In addition, the actresses’ private lives revealed as the non-seen image that makes of the star persona a human subject, and blurs the borders between reality and fiction. Behind the What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Aldrich, 1962) set, we will be able to see how two of the greatest stars who have held the filmic gaze monopoly, struggle to stay visible in the decline of their youth and fame in the Hollywood Star System.
Author biography
Elisenda Díaz Garcés graduated in Literary Studies at the University of Barcelona (2010-2015), Master in Contemporary Film and Audiovisual Studies at Pompeu Fabra University (2016-2018). She dedicated the Master’s Thesis to the study of the creative process of the arts in cinema based on the concepts of difference and repetition, with honors. Currently, doing the PhD in the Research Group Body and Textuality ( of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. The thesis aims at the study of the depiction of the ageing female actress in its film performance placing the contribution in the Ageing studies, Gender studies and Feminist Film Theory.

Phantom Women: The Lingering Presence of Abuse in Hollywood’s Stardom Narratives
Karen McNally, London Metropolitan University
Hollywood’s stardom films are centrally concerned with establishing, maintaining and reinforcing the mythology of stardom (McNally, 2020). Their narratives are framed around characters for whom achieving or retaining stardom is a key imperative, and through whom the film’s star mythology is articulated and ultimately restored following any critiques that might form part of its dramatization of stardom.
     These films are, at the same time, constructed overwhelmingly around female star characters, bringing into play a variety of issues related specifically to the female experience of Hollywood stardom. Topics raised both centrally and on the borders of their narratives therefore range from Hollywood’s youth obsession, to the systemic trade in women’s sexuality, to the exclusion of women of colour from the very myth of stardom. While these ideas often circulate around female protagonists, more frequently secondary or minor characters carry for the narrative these critiques of the industry’s treatment of women, less bound are they to the narrative’s imperative of mythologising stardom.
     This paper will focus on the ways in which secondary female characters in the stardom film reveal the systemic nature of the physical and sexual mistreatment of women in Hollywood. Considering films from Souls for Sale (1923) to The Barefoot Contessa (1954), the paper will explore how these characters represent the lingering presence of abuse in Hollywood through their stories and those of the protagonists. In addition, the genre’s displacement of this disruption to stardom mythology will be considered, as characters are framed as background to male narratives and to male suffering, pointing to systemic practices in a male-dominated industry that still resonate in contemporary Hollywood.
Author biography
Karen McNally is Reader in American Film, Television and Cultural History at London Metropolitan University. She is the author of When Frankie Went to Hollywood: Frank Sinatra and American Male Identity (University of Illinois Press, 2008) and The Stardom Film: Creating the Hollywood Fairy Tale (Wallflower-Columbia University Press, 2020), the editor of Billy Wilder, Movie-Maker: Critical Essays on the Films (McFarland, 2011) and American Television during a Television Presidency (Wayne State University Press, 2022) and co-editor of The Legacy of Mad Men: Cultural History, Intermediality and American Television (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). Karen has also presented and published widely in both book chapters and journals including the European Journal of American CultureJournal of American Studies and Film & History

“Leading Men”: Masculinity in the Dressing Room
Desirée J. Garcia, Dartmouth College
In Alejandro Gonzalez-Iñárritu’s backstage drama, Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), movie star turned stage actor Riggan (Michael Keaton) violently destroys his dressing room. He cannot get the voice of his superhero self out of his head, reminding him, “You were a movie star, remember? Now you’re just a tiny, bitter cocksucker.” Riggan smashes the vanity lights and mirrors, propels furniture through the air, and destroys the movie poster of one of his former films. He opens his shirt, looks at his body in the mirror, and says, “I’m fucking disappearing,” a reference to his weight loss and to his fading star status.
     Scenes of such leading men in crisis abound in dressing room scenes of backstage film narratives and have done so since the beginning of the genre. In “Leading Men: Masculinity in the Dressing Room,” I explore the ways in which dressing rooms are central spaces for understanding how straight, gay, and transexual identities are mediated in American culture. In particular, I foreground how the dressing room’s cinematic representation as a site of intimate spectacle allows for nuanced readings of social actors who are challenging to society, such as the heterosexual male in crisis or the transexual performer. Nor are these issues restricted to white protagonists. Black directors and Latinx artists have used the backstage narrative to reveal insecurities regarding black and Latinx masculinities as well. I will take my examples from a range of films including those from the classical era (The Hard Way, 1943) and the contemporary moment (Birdman, 2014; Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, 2019) as well as from multiple genres and modes, including biopics (Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling, 1986), musicals (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, 2001), documentaries (Paris is Burning, 1990), and one-man shows (FREAK, 1998).
Author biography
Desirée J. Garcia is an Associate Professor in the Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies Program and an affiliate in the Film and Media Studies Department at Dartmouth College. She is the author of two books, The Movie Musical (2021) and The Migration of Musical Film: From Ethnic Margins to American Mainstream (2014), both published by Rutgers University Press. She has also published numerous articles on the transnational histories of musical film, ethnic performance, and spectatorship in the Quarterly Review of Film and VideoFilm History, the Journal of American Ethnic History, and Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies. Her forthcoming book is under contract with Rutgers University Press and is entitled, The Dressing Room: Backstage Stories and American Film. She has a PhD in American Studies from Boston University and BA in History from Wellesley College, where she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. Garcia has also worked as an Associate Producer for American Experience/PBS and starred in the first feature film by director Damien Chazelle (La La Land), the original musical film called Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009).

Panel 6: Documenting Entertainment

Chair: Dominic Broomfield-McHugh, University of Sheffield
Dominic Broomfield-McHugh is Professor in Musicology and Faculty Director of Knowledge Exchange and Impact in the Arts and Humanities at the University of Sheffieland the author or editor of seven books on musicals, including Loverly: The Life and Times of “My Fair Lady” (2012), Alan Jay Lerner: A Lyricist’s Letters (2014), The Letters of Cole Porter (2019), and The Big Parade: Meredith Willson’s Musicals from “The Music Man” to “1491” (2021). He co-edited a special issue of Studies in Musical Theatre focused on Sondheim and has convened four international conferences concerning musicals. He is also the series editor of Oxford’s Guides to Film Musicals and has worked with leading organizations including the Library of Congress, Lincoln Center, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. He worked with Dame Julie Andrews on the Sydney Opera House revival of My Fair Lady and with Kevin Kline at Lincoln Center. He has made more than forty appearances on BBC radio and television, and his research has been used in several professional productions, as well as being covered by major outlets such as the New Yorker, the Sunday Times, and the Washington Post.

Netflix Music Documentaries and the Circulation of Iconic Identities in American Entertainment
Aidan Moir, York University
Possessing an extensive history dating back to the late 1940s, the music documentary and concert movie remains a popular and highly lucrative genre in contemporary American entertainment. While texts like Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011), Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012), and One Direction: This Is Us (2013) demonstrate the continued popularity of concert movies and music documentaries at the North American box office, this particular entertainment genre has witnessed a unique resurgence on streaming platforms like Netflix. Documentary films and series like Quincy (2018) and Song Exploder (2020) inform viewers on the creative, economic, and artistic processes that shape the production and circulation of music in the American entertainment industry, while other texts like Springsteen on Broadway (2018) act as strategic elements in support of the branding of iconic celebrities. Through a close textual analysis of recent Netflix texts including Lady Gaga’s Gaga: Five Foot Two (2017), Beyoncé’s Homecoming (2019), and Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana (2020), this paper illuminates how the contemporary music documentary offers unique opportunities for artists to shape and control their brand identity. With social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok creating a celebrity environment prioritising discourses of authenticity and personal interactions with fans and followers, the music documentary provides artists like Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga opportunities to intervene in the overarching narrative grounding their iconic brand identities. Specific attention in this paper is directed to how music documentaries like Gaga: Five Foot Two, Homecoming, and Miss Americana reveal the agency, control, and labour involved in the maintenance and circulation of iconic brand identities, particularly in regard to depicting the ownership female artists exert over the business decisions involved in celebrity image management.
Author biography
Aidan Moir received in Ph.D. in Communication & Culture from York University in April 2021. Her dissertation, "Punk, Obamacare, and a Jesuit: Branding the Iconic Ideals of Vivienne Westwood, Barack Obama, and Pope Francis," analyzes how the discourse of branding shapes the circulation of iconic identities in contemporary media culture. Her work encompasses the areas of brand and promotional culture, labour and agency, and celebrity on topics ranging from fashion, the environment, and anti-consumption movements to representations of motherhood in film and television.

Screening America’s Soundtrack: The Multicultural Revisionism of Country Music
Gary Edgerton, Butler University
Ken Burns’s eight episode, 16½ hour miniseries, Country Music, premiered on PBS from September 15-18 through 22-25, 2019, garnering an average audience of 6.8 million that totaled 34.5 million unique viewers across broadcast and streaming platforms.  What Country Music makes immediately clear is that this protean genre is deeply rooted in the musical traditions of both Europe and Africa, migrated to the Appalachian Mountains, the deep South and the American Southwest, and flourished in these regional settings at impromptu pickin’ parties, community barn dances, and Sunday morning gospel singalongs.
     Screen representations involving country music now exceed more than one-hundred major mainstream examples ranging from drive-by comedies (Smokey and the Bandit, 1977) to dramas (Tender Mercies, 1983) and biopics (Walk the Line, 2005) along with TV variety shows (Hee Haw, 1969-1997), live concert programs (Austin City Limits, 1976-present), and prime-time soap operas (Nashville, 2012-2018).  Still, the miniseries, Country Music, provides the most contemporary, comprehensive, and incisive historical overview of this musical genre ever put on film. In typical Burnsian fashion, there are no shortcuts here with nearly 600 musical cues, over 3,200 period photographs, and two-plus hours of vintage stock footage.
     Country Music is given the full Ken Burns treatment, which from a narrative perspective means blending a chronological approach with a series of dramatic biographies that serve as the foundational structure of this historical documentary. My paper presentation therefore describes and analyzes how this miniseries revises the common stereotype in which country music is often misunderstood and mischaracterised as being mostly white and rural, politically and religiously conservative, male-dominated and musically uncomplicated.
Author biography
Gary R. Edgerton is Professor of Creative Media and Entertainment at Butler University.  He has published twelve books – including Ken Burns’s America (Palgrave for St. Martin’s Press, 2001) – as well as more than ninety essays on a variety of television, film and culture topics in a wide assortment of books, scholarly journals, and encyclopedias.  He also coedits the Journal of Popular Film and Television.

Into the Unknown: Uncovering the Film-Music Production Processes for Frozen II
Ian Sapiro, University of Leeds and Toby Huelin, University of Leeds
This paper examines how the creation of the music for Frozen II is depicted in the Disney+ docuseries Into the Unknown: Making Frozen II (2020). The series received plaudits for its “crushingly honest” (Anderton, 2020) representation of the creative process, but is conspicuous nonetheless for what it prioritises and excludes in relation to the film’s soundtrack. Musically, the series focusses on a small number of the songs – composed by “star” songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez – and only briefly considers the background score. As such, several vital (“non-star”) musical figures either feature only fleetingly (e.g. score composer Christophe Beck) or are absent from the documentary’s constructed narrative (e.g. score orchestrator and conductor Tim Davies, music editor Fernand Bos). There exists a tension, then, between the real-world processes of music creation for Frozen II, and the mythologisation or “Disneyfication” of these processes in Into the Unknown. Audiences are enthusiastic to learn about the “complexity of creating the #1 animated feature of all time” (Disney+, 2020), but where the music is concerned, how much does this documentary actually reveal?
     Taking this tension between authentic processes and crafted narratives as its starting point, this paper investigates how realistic the depiction of the musical production processes in the documentary is, which elements are included or excluded, and why. Drawing together studies of film-music production processes (Sapiro, 2016) and technological (musical) developments in contemporary animation (Goldmark, 2013; Dubowsky, 2011), we analyse both music-centred scenes from Into the Unknown and related paratextual depictions of the music (such as informal Twitter videos of score recording sessions) to provide new insight into the fundamental role of music in shaping the production of Frozen II. This research also has implications concerning the function, depiction and profile of music within the wider on- and off-screen universe of Disney Animation Studios.
Author biographies
Ian Sapiro is an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Leeds, specialising in film music, musical theatre, orchestration, adaptation, production processes, and the overlaps between them. He was co-investigator on the £570k project ‘The Professional Career and Output of Trevor Jones’, and is co-author of a book arising from the project, The Screen Music of Trevor Jones: Technology, Process, Production (Routledge, 2019). Ian’s monograph, Scoring the Score (Routledge, 2016), for which he interviewed over 40 professional film orchestrators and composers, was the first scholarly examination of orchestrators and orchestration in the contemporary film industry. His other publications include book chapters on the film-musical adaptations of Les Misérables (EUP, 2017) and Annie (OUP, 2019), Ilan Eshkeri’s score for Stardust (Scarecrow Press, 2013), the pop-music industry and the British musical (OUP, 2017), and the role played by orchestration in the sound of John Williams’s film music (Brepols, 2018).

Toby Huelin is a PhD researcher at the University of Leeds, investigating the use of library music in contemporary television production. He is the author of a number of forthcoming research publications, including journal articles on the role of music programming on BBC Four (Critical Studies in Television, 2022) and musical representations of Donald Trump in library music catalogues (European Journal of American Culture, 2022, co-authored with Júlia Durand), and a book chapter on the use of pre-existing music in Australian streaming media (Streaming and Screen Cultures in the Asia-Pacific, Palgrave Macmillan, 2022). Toby is also a media composer: his music has been broadcast on Emmy Award-winning television (United Shades of America, CNN), has featured in a global advertising campaign for internet brand Honey, and is regularly heard across UK primetime television. His research is funded by the AHRC via the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH).

Roundtable: ‘Now You See Me, Now You Don’t’: Stars as (Fictional) Characters

Chair: Julie Lobalzo Wright, University of Warwick
Julie Lobalzo Wright is an Assistant Professor in Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick. She has recently published Musicals at the Margins: Genre, Boundaries, Canons (co-edited with Martha Shearer) (Bloomsbury, 2021), a chapter on the concert stage and tour in 1970s Hollywood films in Mapping the Rockumentary: Images of Sound and Fury, editors Gunnar Iverson and Scott MacKenzie (Edinburgh, 2021), and her monograph, Crossover Stardom: Popular Male Music Stars in American Cinema is available in paperback (Bloomsbury, 2019). 

Vivien Leigh:
The representation of Olivia de Havilland in Feud: Bette and Joan (2017) and her subsequent, although ultimately unsuccessful, suing of Ryan Murphy raises several interesting questions about the use of stars as supporting characters and the effect this has on their (posthumous) star image. I will be looking at representations of Vivien Leigh in the television series Hollywood (2020) and the film My Week with Marilyn (2011) and how these portrayals of her as a background character impact her posthumous star image.

Judy Garland:
The recent biopic Judy (2019) revealed the particular difficulties inherent in portraying an historic musical star. The film used Renee Zellweger's own singing voice for her role as Judy Garland, erasing the most recognisable identifier of the icon to ostensibly provide Zellweger more control over her total performance. By contrast, the 2001 miniseries Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows dubbed the actresses portraying Garland at various stages of her life with the star's own recordings, creating a vocal disconnect between the musical numbers and the non-singing scenes. I will be considering the challenges of biographical performance when musical voice is an essential component of the star's persona.

Rudolph Valentino:
Ken Russell’s Valentino (1977), a biopic of Rudolph Valentino that begins at his funeral, forms its narrative around a sequence of flashbacks initiated through the memories of characters connected with him, for instance his wife, agent, the press, and his fans. The film’s sub-narratives reveal the processes of creating and moulding Valentino’s star image and raises several questions around his agency in shaping that stardom, as well as the myth-making processes of his posthumous star image, and the impact of Russell’s film in contributing to that process.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor:
By examining representations of Richard Burton as supporting character in Elizabeth Taylor and Burton/Taylor biopics (Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story, 1995, Liz & Dick, 2012, and Burton and Taylor, 2013) in juxtaposition with Burton’s own portrayal of American actor Edwin Booth in the biopic Prince of Players (1955), the performative challenges of portraying a thespian and star of his magnitude as well as complex, highly conflicted individual in biographical onscreen narratives, which is further complicated when colliding with Taylor’s equally complex bigger-than-life star persona.

Patricia Neal:
‘Mise en abyme in on-screen representations of Patrica Neal’ will look in particular at The Patricia Neal Story (1981) and To Olivia (2021) in which Glenda Jackson and Keeley Hawes not only perform the role of Patricia Neal, and approximate her look through hair and makeup, but also recreate Neal in her two Oscar nominated roles in The Subject was Roses (1968) and Hud (1963). I will look at the extent to which mise en abyme is used to reinforce Neal’s star persona as a suffering-women who has to work and adapt to overcome hardship in the multiple roles she plays in her personal and professional life.

Author biographies
Georgia Brown is a PhD researcher at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research studies the prosodic prominence and overall rhythms in each of Vivien Leigh’s onscreen vocal performances, by analysing the suprasegmental characteristics of accented words and associated changes in the fundamental frequency (F0). This study will develop an understanding of how Leigh’s voice was impacted by ageing and illness and how this has affected her star image. Georgia has presented her research at the BAFTSS Stardom and Performance symposium, 2019, at the Stardom and the Archive conference, 2020 and, at BAFTSS 2021.

Lisa Duffy is an independent scholar specialising in screen musicals. Her PhD thesis examined gender and sexuality in the fantasy spaces of classical Hollywood musicals. Her current research revolves around Disney villains, considering the aesthetics of evil in Disney animation and the legacy of the Disney villain song.

Jade Evans is an AHRC funded PhD candidate at QMUL researching the creation, exhibition and exportation of British film stars in a collaborative project with the BFI Archives. She examines archival objects to consider what it reveals about the ways in which the British film industry worked to promote its actors as stars, the hidden creative labour of female film stars, and the promotion of national identity between 1920 – 1970.

Caroline Langhorst holds a BA in Film Studies and British Studies and a MA in Film Studies (MA thesis on Derek Jarman) from the University of Mainz, Germany. She is currently working on her PhD thesis on rebellious actors (including a Richard Burton case study), performance styles and stardom in 1960s British cinema at the Cinema and Television History Research Institute, De Montfort University Leicester. Her main research interests include British and American cinema, television, popular music and culture, acting/performance and star studies (especially British, Classical Hollywood and European stardom), gender studies as well as the ‘long’ 1960s and the counterculture.

Cathy Lomax is a PhD student at Queen Mary University of London. Her research investigates the role of makeup and artifice in the creation and perpetuation of the Hollywood female star image with a particular focus on the period 1950-1970. Publications include ‘Makeup as Dark Magic: The Love Witch and the Subversive Female Gaze’, Frames Cinema Journal, 2019 and ‘Ghostly threads: Painting Marilyn Monroe’s white dresses’, Film, Fashion and Consumption, 2015. Lomax is a practising artist, director of Transition Gallery, London and editor of art and culture magazines Arty and Garageland. She won the Contemporary British Painting Prize, 2016 and was Abbey Painting Fellow at the British School at Rome, 2014.

Panel 7: Alternative Spaces and Places

Chair: Teresa Forde, University of Derby
Teresa Forde is Senior Lecturer in Media at the University of Derby. She is co-editor of The Legacy of Mad Men: Cultural History, Intermediality and American Television (2019). She has written articles on True Blood and The L Word as Television Finales (2018) and on ‘Olivia Dunham and the New Frontier in Fringe' (2019). Teresa’s forthcoming publications include chapters on Race in UK Television Drama and Star Trek: Discovery. She is on the editorial board of MAI: Journal of Feminism and Culture and is currently creating the podcast Curation Corner.

The Other Side of Hollywood: The Indie Scene in (Self-)Reflexive Filmmaking
Fátima Chinita, Lisbon Polytechnic Institute
What makes a “Hollywood film”? Is it the setting; the big name actors; the themes of stardom and success or failure; the crew’s work allowing a peak at the production process; the magical view of the apparatus and the camera? For all of these questions there is a negative answer dully exemplified with several films. In his book Hollywood by Hollywood, Steven Cohan stresses the mystique of Hollywood, as did P.D. Anderson (1976), Richard Maltby (2003) and others before him. Although Cohan’s book mentions films such as Living in Oblivion (1995), State and Main (2000), The Majestic (2002), and Woody Allen’s works, one detects a penchant for Studio productions, big name directors, and a favoritism for the producer and star’s roles. 
     Going against this penchant, I argue that in order to try to grasp the phenomenon of the Hollywood film, one has to look farther and consider all kinds of films on film. In other words, one has to look for the unconventional film products and the technical role of the film director. What I propose to do here is scrutinise some indie films that focus on intradiegetic film directors, none of them mentioned by Cohan. They have in common the fact that they were written and directed by the same person, an auterist tendency found more in Europe than the US. I will try to establish their similarities within their differences in order to add arguments for a possible indie Hollywood film subgenre. Then I will try to convey the idea that Hollywood films dealing with intradiegetic directors are closer to an artistic position than an industrial one. Lastly, I will ponder both on the eventual impossibility of defining Hollywood film, or on the necessity of broadening the scope. It all depends on whether the mystique holds, and how.
     My corpus is composed of the following films: Inserts (John Byrum, 1975); The Pickle (Paul Mazursky, 1993); The Independent (Stephen Kessler, 2000); One of the Hollywood Ten (Karl Francis, 2000); Man in the Chair (Michael Schroeder, 2007).
Author biography
Fátima Chinita holds a PhD. in Artistic Studies (Film and Audio-Visual Media) with a dissertation entitled “Self-Reflexive Metacinema as a Form of Authorial Enunciation” [written in Portuguese, 2013, summa cum laude], an MA in Communication Sciences (contemporary culture and new technologies), and BA’s both in Literature and Cinema (film editing). She works as an Associate Professor at the Theatre and Film School of the Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon, Film Department. She is the author of The (In)visible Spectator: Reflexivity from the Film Viewer's Perspective in David Lynch's INLAND EMPIRE [published in Portuguese, 2013]. She publishes on metacinema, intermediality, and film narrative.

Crime Jazz Diasporas: African-American Music in Japanese Sixties Cinema
David Melbye, Independent Scholar
If we may understand jazz as at least partly “diasporic” in terms of African-American musicianship and its ability to be associated with recordings, cinematic depiction, or simply traveling minstrels, a degree of implied social deviance has persisted even where no black presence is visible. This is why, as I see it, jazz’s marriage to the crime film is a global phenomenon, or at least in cultural contexts where racial identity has been defined against perceptions of African blackness, or even negritude for its own sake.
     A distinct overseas trend of cinema during the 1960s embraces an American film noir paradigm, in which African-American musical forms are fundamentally associated with urban delinquency. Central characters are typically found congregating in nightclubs oriented toward the consumption of jazz, and as a respite from their criminal exploits. In these films, the black musicians found in the characteristic nightclub scenes of American noir films have been swapped out for local musicians (or simply a jukebox). Regardless, the insinuation of primal or “African” impulses as dangerously taboo persists for what was essentially a middle-aged audience taking gratification from the ultimate retribution these narratives levy against social deviance – while their teenaged offspring could enjoy the visceral stimulation of the music and its popular momentum at the same time.
     This pattern of narrative association between African-American musical forms can even be found in Asian cinema, especially Japanese noir films of this period. Here, American beatnik or street gang subcultures have simply been “imported” to the rapid postwar urbanization of Tokyo and other major cities. Films such as I Am Waiting (1957) and Black Sun (1964) similarly exploit jazz, even by reinforcing its “blackness” through the presence of an African-American soldier in the latter example. Ultimately, these foreign films each contribute to a larger critique of urbanization and its dehumanising effects – although at the expense of African-American identity and culture.
Author biography
David Melbye earned his doctorate in Cinema and Television from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. He has since taught media analysis and production internationally and as a Fulbright Fellow in the Middle East, as well as in Far East contexts. David has published two monographs, Irony in The Twilight Zone and Landscape Allegory in Cinema. He has also produced music for popular American television shows including Friday Night LightsQueer Eye for the Straight Guy, and One Life to Live.

Drawing Stars: Hollywood Satirical Cartoons and the Star System
Marguerite Chabrol, Université Paris 8
As numerous as classical Hollywood self-reflexive films are, and as dark and critical their vision may seem, most of the them aim anyway at building a strong mythology (Feuer, Cohan). The other media (magazines, personal appearances on stage, radio…) involved in the star system and providing a “behind the screen effect,” whether true or not, seem to have contributed to the Hollywood myth, reaffirming its power behind pseudo-distance. This paper aims at studying a less-considered aspect of this intermedial network: the cartoons featured in the first part of movie programs that often involved caricatures of other forms of entertainment. Indeed, the 1930s and 1940s cartoons, mostly those produced by Warner Bros. (Merrie Melodies) and Disney (notably the Silly Symphonies), often based characters on stars. They seem to have drawn on self-reflexivity earlier than other filmed media, and to have adopted a more satirical and insolent approach. Stars were their main target and although drawn impersonations or caricatures could reinforce some of the stars’ personae and aura, other cartoons were racier and rather aggressive (like Disney’s Mother Goose Goes Hollywood).
     Focusing on the height of the Classical Era in the 1930s and 1940s, I will question the cultural meanings and ambiguities of caricature within the Hollywood star system. I will first relate the filmed cartoons to the history of still drawings of stage stars (Al Hirshfeld became the main reference) to understand how the positive values of caricature helped build the star system. The second part of my paper will analyse some of the most apparently malicious or disrespectful cartoons and the impact of the satire (usually directed at stars from another studio than the cartoon’s producer). The paper will finally study the dialogue between cartoons and feature films and show, through chosen examples, that Hollywood personalities or deciders (producers, but also some stars) could/had to claim and absorb the cartoonish satire to reinforce their own mythology.
Author biography
Marguerite Chabrol is a Professor of Film Studies at Université Paris 8 in France. Her research tackles intermediality in film, more specifically the relations between theatre and film in classical Hollywood cinema, with a star studies-based approach. She studied the cultural and aesthetical stakes of transfers of straight plays between Broadway and Hollywood in two books: De Broadway à Hollywood (CNRS Editions, 2016) and Katharine Hepburn. Paradoxes de la comédienne (PUR, 2019). She is currently interested in the musical and recently published a French critical edition of Jane Feuer, co-edited with Laurent Guido (Mythologies du film musical, Presses du Réel, 2016). She also co-edited with Pierre-Olivier Toulza, Star Turns in Hollywood Musicals (Presses du Réel, 2017).

The Melancholy Glamour of the Hollywood Star in Britain
Hannah Andrews, Edge Hill University
A cycle of biopics in the late 2010s – Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (Paul McGuigan, 2017), Stan and Ollie (Jon S. Baird, 2018) and Judy (Rupert Goold, 2019) – traces the journeys of American movie stars as they work in Britain. In each, the Hollywood star travels to the UK at a moment of crisis or desperation in their career. The production of movies has been exchanged for live performances and personal appearances, framed as a lesser and, to an extent, demeaning version of stardom. What does this suggest about the relationship between the US and the UK as sites in the entertainment industries? What of the relationship between theatre and film?
     This paper will suggest that we can read parallel discourses at play in these films. At an intratextual level, they complicate the customary hierarchy of values between theatrical performance and cinema by suggesting live performance as an ironic signifier of a dying career. The paper will explore the narrative motif of death alongside an analysis of how film style is used to create an intermedial encounter between film and theatre. Extratextually, the films propose an implicit critique of the purloining of Hollywood glamour in the UK film (and theatre) industry that is precisely enacted by the ‘borrowing’ of contemporary Hollywood stars like Annette Bening, John C. Reilly and Renee Zellweger. The films embed these themes and discourses into their narratives. Through textual and paratextual analysis (especially tracing the promotional techniques for these films), this paper will suggest that these ‘American Star in Britain’ biopics point to a self-conscious and somewhat melancholy diagnosis of the problems of the British film industry in the 2010s.
Author biography
Hannah Andrews is Senior Lecturer in Media, Film and Television at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK. Her research focuses on intermedial and industrial relations between cinema and television, and representations of real people on screen. Her latest book is Biographical Television Drama (Palgrave, 2021). Her work on biographical film and television has been published in AdaptationJournal of British Cinema and TelevisionCritical Studies in TelevisionJournal of ScreenwritingJournal of Popular Television, and Screen.

Panel 8: Genre and Entertainment

Chair: Jon Baldwin, London Metropolitan University
Jon Baldwin teaches film and digital media at London Metropolitan University. He is on the advisory board of Film-Philosophy, has published on science fiction, posthumanism and cinema, and edited the volume White Magic - Baudrillard and Film (2010).

Melodrama and the Megastar: The Simplification and Sanitization of the Queer Entertainment Biopic in Pursuit of the Mainstream Audience
Justin Bonthuys, Independent Scholar
Scholarship around melodrama and victimhood has recently shifted from the purely fictional to examples such as talk shows and American politics. Biopics concerning famous queer entertainers present an excellent example of the confluence between the fictional and the factual, illustrating how “universal” narratives position celebrities as relatable victims who overcame various obstacles. This paper will explore the usefulness of melodrama for bringing queer narratives such as Rocketman (2019) and Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) to a mainstream audience while also arguing that comprises are made, and nuances lost as a result.
     Sociologist Eva Illouz argues that rendering autobiographical narratives universally relatable often results in the loss of their idiosyncrasies. For LGBTQI+ entertainers, this is seen in the tamping down of their queerness in deference to the generic narrative of realising their hidden potential. An unintentional effect of this is that when they finally embrace their charismatic flamboyance, it is frequently intertwined with the corrosive effects of sudden fame. These narratives thus focus on their struggle to reconcile their ‘ordinary’ selves with their star personas seen onstage.
     Illouz argues that narratives of victimhood are framed around a specific Telos or climactic peak, such as the achievement of sobriety. In this process, mainstream biopics often rely on the Manichean conflicts of good and evil seen in classic melodrama. In both Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody the hero’s more selfish actions are rendered morally ambiguous as they are manipulated by the ‘villainous’ love interests who surround them. The narrative ultimately focuses more on the obstacles they have overcome than the happinesses they eventually achieve, while also eschewing difficult truths such Mercury’s struggle with AIDS.
     Ultimately this paper seeks to question whether the usage of melodrama to render queer entertainment narratives legible to a mainstream audience is worth the sanitization and one-dimensionality which often occur as a result.
Author biography
Justin Bonthuys is a recent graduate of the University of North Texas with his MA Thesis titled “Crying For Change: Examining The Use Of Period Melodrama And The Melodramatic Mode In Contemporary Queer Representation”. Originally from South Africa, he emigrated to the United States in 2015. His research interests include classical Hollywood cinema, minority representation, gender studies, queer representation, and Transcultural adaption/reception.

Fosse/Verdon and All That Jazz: Who is the Real Star Here?
Dara Milovanovic, University of Nicosia
Bob Fosse used his life as material for a backstage musical in his semi-autobiographical film All That Jazz (1979). The film is a gritty musical biopic that presents the protagonist as a complex person with addictions and mental health issues however, the stories of women (including some of the Broadway greats, such as Gwen Verdon and Ann Reinking) are reduced to supporting roles. The Fosse/Verdon biopic series (FX, 2019) attempts to remedy the male-driven narrative of Fosse’s repertory by focusing on his artistic, romantic and family life with his life-long artistic collaborator and wife Gwen Verdon. The series aims to draw focus onto Verdon and, furthermore, her stock in Fosse’s creative process, but unfortunately it leaves out corporeal stories of many female dancers that have contributed to and created the Fosse dance aesthetic. Looking at Fosse’s work from a post-structuralist perspective turns focus from the idea of Fosse as the creative originator and rather focuses on the dance, choreography, and performance as a collaborative practice. Using Roland Barthes’s (1977) theory presented in “Death of an Author” provides a scaffolding to challenge Fosse’s overwhelming standing as a sole creator of the choreographic repertory by shifting focus on to the corporeal work performed by the female dancers. In this presentation, I aim to argue that the female performers exert agency over the choreography through the physical and artistic labour required to create the performances and Fosse’s particular choreographic and cinematic style. Through the lens of film phenomenology of case studies of dances that appear in both biopics, I focus on the potent corporeal assault of the dancing presence and scenes to draw attention to the experience of dancing as the real protagonist in Fosse’s film and disturb the male driven narrative, sense of stardom, and gaze.
Author biography
Dara Milovanovic is an Assistant Professor of Dance and Head of the Department of Music and Dance at University of Nicosia in Cyprus. Dara holds a PhD in Dance Studies from Kingston University London, UK and an MA in American Dance Studies from Florida State University. Dara teaches contextual dance studies, dance research, contemporary dance technique and jazz dance. Her work has been published in books and journals, such Perspectives on American DanceThe Twentieth CenturyPeephole JournalDance ResearchFifty Contemporary Choreographers (Third Edition), and International Screendance Journal. Her research interests include popular dance, musical theatre, screendance, and film phenomenology. Dara is an active contemporary dance performer in Cyprus.

“Hollywoo” Stars and Celebrities: Who Are They? How Are They Created? Let’s Find Out!
Arya Rani, University of Texas at Dallas
Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s BoJack Horseman (2014-2020) is an animated show on Netflix about the life of a fictional anthropomorphic horse star of yesteryear, BoJack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnette). After the success of his hit family sitcom “Horsin’ Around” in the 1990s, the character slips into obscurity aided by arrogance, alcohol, drugs, and depression. In six seasons, BoJack Horseman explores life in a tinsel town named “Hollywoo”, as the lonely has-been BoJack tries to climb up the ladder of fame and acceptability again to reclaim relevance and establish himself as a legitimate actor in the industry. As this paper argues, BoJack Horseman is an uncanny echo of Norman Maine from the first two versions of A Star Is Born (1937, 1954); the only difference is that while Maine grooms a new star to continue his legacy, BoJack attempts to recreate himself. I focus on how BoJack Horseman interrogates the privileges enjoyed by a male star in Hollywood in a self-reflective manner, especially through satirising and parodying the ways in which the star image is constructed and re-constructed in Hollywood through memoirs, biopics, publicity agents, and awards shows. I will also draw attention to how BoJack Horseman, though visually expressionistic and crude, effectively demystifies the notion of the Hollywood star by being unabashedly realistic about the mechanisms of the creation of the star image behind the screen.
Author biography
Arya Rani is a PhD student in Visual and Performing Arts, focusing in Film Studies, at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Hollywood: The Haunted House
Mark Jancovich, University of East Anglia
Hollywood has perhaps not surprisingly been the topic of numerous Gothic representations, from literary text such as Nathaniel West's The Day of the Locusts and Robert Bloch’s The Star Stalker, to Hollywood’s own representations of itself as a place of Gothic games of psychological domination and torture: Sunset BoulevardThe Big Knife. Even the 1950s version of A Star is Born stars James Mason, an actor perennially associated with the Gothic - it came out directly between his appearance as one of the great Gothic mad scientists, Captain Nemo in 20,000 League Under the Sea, and as another mad despot in Bigger the Life, where he played a virtual Jekyll and Hyde character (even if the New York Times complained that it didn’t have enough “creeping terror and eeriness” when compared to the story on which it was based). Even Singin’ in the Rain contains a Gothic undertow through its concern with the alienation of labour, even if the despotic figure is deflected away from studio management and onto the figure of Lina Lamont. The paper will therefore concentrate on the 1950s to explore how and why Hollywood so often represented itself as a place of Gothic horror.
Author biography
Mark Jancovich is Professor of Film and Television Studies at the University of East Anglia, UK. He is the author of numerous books and articles. He was the founder of Scope: An Online Journal of Film Studies, is series editor (with Charles Acland) of the Bloomsbury book series, Film Genres, and managing editor of Horror Studies.

Keynote Address: Making [It] Up: Cosmetics, Coiffures, and Self-reflexivity in Classical Hollywood Cinema

Adrienne L. McLean, University of Texas at Dallas
This address explores the representation of makeup and hairdressing in studio-era films about being or becoming stars of some kind, but also suggests that attentiveness to the crafts and their deployment can make many films, regardless of narrative focus, functionally self-reflexive about stardom and its practices. Films in which we see [white] faces, and sometimes bodies, being evaluated and cosmetics applied or hair dressed for fictional screen tests, photo shoots, or other glamorous events provide intriguing and historically valuable glimpses into the workings of two of the most important but often ignored of Hollywood’s crafts. (Male stars wore almost as many cosmetics as women did onscreen – not to mention toupées – though they are far less likely to be shown in such scenes.) While appearing hyperbolically flawless today, the studios’ beauty makeup – an obviously gendered term that I appropriate for wider use – functioned as the highly embellished and exclusionary but also standard and “realistic” basis of normative appearance in feature films. And this was the case even when cosmetics were ostensibly absent, as in the “before” shots of an actor who is always already a star but who is playing someone who the story claims has not yet achieved the visual and sartorial perfection that stardom required and instantiated. Teasing out what we are [not] allowed to see in such scenes can expose the ideological underpinnings of star beauty – male as well as female, though the studios did not like to admit it – as a gendered and racialised construction that was also promulgated and sold, often by male studio makeup executives, in the broad consumer marketplace. In the end, awareness of the visible signs of beauty makeup in any circumstance can help spectators to understand many if not most films as self-reflexive, at least about the constitutive and material elements of stardom itself.
Author biography
Adrienne L. McLean has been Professor of Film Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas since 1998, and is the author of All for Beauty: Makeup and Hairdressing in Hollywood’s Studio Era (2022), Dying Swans and Madmen: Ballet, the Body, and Narrative Cinema (2008), and Being Rita Hayworth: Labor, Identity, and Hollywood Stardom (2004). In addition to being the editor of several anthologies, she is also the co-editor, with Murray Pomerance, of the eleven-volume series Star Decades.