Exhibit: Frances Dee and the Commodification of the Hollywood Star

Submitted by Brenda Ellis

Axinn Center Winter Garden continuing through August 31st.


The process of commodification required the frequent reworking of promotional materials devoted to extending a film and its stars pervasively into the public sphere. This exhibit offers more than one hundred representative materials employed by Hollywood studios in marketing not only her films but actress Frances Dee as a star. They include the most common items — posters, lobby cards, photographs, press books, heralds, fan magazines, etc. — to the more obscure — cigarette cards, matchbooks, photoplay editions of novels, film novelizations in magazine format, study guides, playing cards, makeup kits, Coca-Cola trays, dress patterns, and paper dolls. In selecting these materials, a conscious effort has been made to document that Hollywood marketing campaigns were aimed not solely to American filmgoers but to a vast international audience, from Europe to Asia to Latin and South America, who eagerly consumed Hollywood films and their stars.

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