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Negotiating Hollywood

The Cultural Politics of Actors’ Labor

1995
Author:

Danae Clark

Negotiating Hollywood

Actors' screen images have too often stolen the focus of attention from their behind the scenes working conditions. In Negotiating Hollywood, Danae Clark begins to fill this gap in film history by providing a rich historical account of actors' labor struggles in 1930s Hollywood. Taking the formation of the Screen Actors Guild in 1933 as its investigative centerpiece, Negotiating Hollywood examines the ways in which actors' contracts, studio labor policies and public relations efforts, films, fan magazines, and other documents were all involved in actors' struggles to assert their labor power and define their own images. Clark supplies information not only on stars, but on screen extras, whose role in the Hollywood film industry has remained hitherto undocumented.

Actors' screen images have too often stolen the focus of attention from their behind the scenes working conditions. In Negotiating Hollywood, Danae Clark begins to fill this gap in film history by providing a rich historical account of actors' labor struggles in 1930s Hollywood. Taking the formation of the Screen Actors Guild in 1933 as its investigative centerpiece, Negotiating Hollywood examines the ways in which actors' contracts, studio labor policies and public relations efforts, films, fan magazines, and other documents were all involved in actors' struggles to assert their labor power and define their own images. Clark supplies information not only on stars, but on screen extras, whose role in the Hollywood film industry has remained hitherto undocumented.

Danae Clark is one of the most versatile and original scholars working in film studies and cultural studies. With Negotiating Hollywood, she has written one of the most significant film history monographs of recent years.

Film Quarterly

Actors' screen images have too often stolen the focus of attention from their behind-the-scenes working conditions. In Negotiating Hollywood, Danae Clark begins to fill this gap in film history by providing a rich account of actors' labor struggles in 1930s Hollywood.

For many years, one of the dominant approaches to film studies has been the "star studies" approach, like auteurism or biography wherein one actor or director becomes the object of study. Clark argues for a cultural studies approach as she investigates both the individual and collective political conflicts that actors encountered within the Hollywood production system in the 1930s. She reveals the contradictory position of actors caught in the forces between production and consumption, representation and self-representation, their role as images and their occupation as laborers.

Taking the formation of the Screen Actors Guild in 1933 as its investigative centerpiece, Negotiating Hollywood examines the ways in which actors' contracts, studio labor policies and public relations efforts, films, fan magazines, and other documents were all involved in actors' struggles to assert their labor power and define their own images. Clark supplies information not only on stars but also on screen extras, whose role in the Hollywood film industry has remained hitherto undocumented. Negotiating Hollywood will be of appeal to individuals interested in actors' labor, film history, and cultural studies.

Negotiating Hollywood

Danae Clark is assistant professor of media studies in the Department of Communication at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in Camera Obscura, the Journal of Film and Video, and other media-interest publications.

Negotiating Hollywood

Danae Clark is one of the most versatile and original scholars working in film studies and cultural studies. With Negotiating Hollywood, she has written one of the most significant film history monographs of recent years.

Film Quarterly