The screen test 1915–1930: How stars were born

Elizabeth Ezra*, Ana Salzberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article examines the emergence of the screen test as a cultural phenomenon during the silent era in the USA and Europe and its role in the development of the star system. The lore that grew up around the screen test almost from its inception held out the possibility for members of the public to cross a threshold into the rarefied world of celebrity. The screen test itself is situated in the liminal space not only between audience and actor, but also between fiction and non-fiction, Europe and Hollywood, the silent era and the talkies, and the public and private spheres. In order to trace the ways in which the screen test as such was narrativised and conceptualised in its foundational stages, this article will analyse accounts from Hollywood and European fan magazines of the silent era, including articles, short fiction, and early cinema apocrypha. The article culminates in a discussion of the 1930 film Prix deBeauté (Beauty Prize) starring Louise Brooks, herself a transnational film icon whose film career spanned the divide between Hollywood and Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-488
Number of pages12
JournalCelebrity Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Europe
  • Hollywood
  • Louise Brooks
  • screen test
  • stardom
  • transnational


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