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  • Introduction: “Nothing Like Going to an Authority!”

    Giorgio Bertellini

    Chapter from the book: Bertellini, G. 2019. The Divo and the Duce: Promoting Film Stardom and Political Leadership in 1920s America.


    A photograph published in Motion Picture Magazine in early 1927, showing Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks doing the fascist salute and fondly reminiscing about their recent meeting with Mussolini, sets the stage for this study. The amusing tone of their homage, the lack of any backlash in the contemporary press, and the virtual absence of any reference to their gesture in recent biographies of this Hollywood power couple prompted my research into the convergence of film and political celebrity. Beyond accidental traits and anecdotal encounters, what makes film stars and iconic political figures comparable is their enhanced ability in crowd management. This introduction argues that their comparability has a history, starting with World War I and unfolding with the emergence and consolidation of promotional practices. A chapter outline summarizes the volume’s three parts and overall organization.

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    Bertellini, G. 2019. Introduction: “Nothing Like Going to an Authority!”. In: Bertellini, G, The Divo and the Duce. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.62.a

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Jan. 15, 2019