Norma Desmond, Your Spell Is Everywhere: The Time and Place of the Female Film Star in 1950s Television and Film
2015. "Norma Desmond, Your Spell Is Everywhere: The Time and Place of the Female Film Star in 1950s Television and Film", Recycled Stars: Female Film Stardom in the Age of Television and Video, Mary R. Desjardins
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The status of the aging film star in the new medium of television after 1950 was negotiated within anxieties about feminine survival in “new Hollywood.” These anxieties were related to the material conditions of labor in postwar Hollywood and to long-circulated fantasies about female stars. The character of Norma Desmond from Sunset Blvd. condensed many of these anxieties into a single, pathetic figure who could not return to public visibility in film, except in the newsreels that eventually document her arrest for murder. This chapter examines three film and television genres that work through anxieties about the aging star (the female star or the “feminized” male star)—the domestic melodrama of The Loretta Young Show, the gothic mystery of Thriller and The Twilight Zone, and the comedy of Dreamboat—to explore how the faded star offers a hyperbolic version of femininity and its vicissitudes in commodity culture.