The method of creating and promoting film stars in Hollywood movies is known as the star system. Different studios would select talented actors and create roles for them, often inventing new names and even new backgrounds. Stars that went through this star system in Hollywood movies are Cary Grant, Joan Crawford and Rock Hudson. Star system of Hollywood movies puts an emphasis on the image rather than on real acting talents. However, acting, voice, and dancing form a part of the criteria.
There are rules and restrictions that these new budding actors have to follow. For instance, they are not allowed to leave the house without putting any makeup and wearing stylish clothes when it comes to female actors. On the other hand, the male actors are expected to be seen in public as gentlemen. The star system of Hollywood movies had a morality clause as well.
Just as the executives, public relations staffs, and the agents worked together with the actor to create a star character, so also they would work together to cover up the incidents or lifestyles which would prove disrespectful and that can damage or spoil the image of the actor in the eye of the public.
In the star system of Hollywood movies, performers are not identified in films due to two main reasons. One is that the stage performers were embarrassed to be seen in films. Initially, they were featured in silent films and it was considered pantomime, which is the art of conveying emotions, actions, and feelings, by gestures without speech. As one of the main skills of actors was their voice, they were afraid that appearing in films would ruin their reputation.
The other reason for the performers not being identified in films was because producers feared that actors would gain more prestige and power and the stars might demand more money. There were many incidents that have caused the star system of Hollywood movies to come into existence. Some of the main reasons can be traced out from the following incidents.
Thomas Edison and the Motion Picture Patents Company (in short the MPPC) forced the filmmakers to use their equipment and follow their rules, since they owned most of the patents of the motion picture equipment. And it is said that the MPPC did promote some actors during that time.
There was a change in the star system of Hollywood movies, and the main reason was that the public desired to know the real names of the actors. Film audiences constantly recognized a number of performers in movies that they liked. As the names of these stars was not disclosed, the audience would give them nicknames such as the Biograph Girl, Florence Lawrence, and the like.
The MPPC was gaining control over the movie industry until Carl Laemmle promoted the first film star. He was independent of the MPPC and used star promotion to fight the MPPC gaining control over the film industry. He got hold of Lawrence from Biograph and spread a rumor that she was killed in a car accident but then later combated this rumor and said she was doing fine and would be starring in the up-coming film produced by him.
Another reason that led to the establishment of the star system in Hollywood movies was the development of the film magazines that gave fans knowledge about the actors. This included the lifestyles of the actors outside their film roles. Some of the popular magazines of the time were the Motion Picture Story Magazine and Photoplay. They focused on stories of movies but later they began to focus more on the actors as it was advantageous economically. These are some of the main reasons for the introduction of the star system in Hollywood movies.