Film Theory 341W Blog Journal (Week 7)

Saying that “Stars” play a vital role in a film’s success is a vast understatement. Film theorist, Miriam Hansen, discusses male star roles in detail, specifically Rudolf Valentino. She views Valentino as a male “Sex Symbol,” he was quite the site for the average American female film-goer. She was fascinated by Valentino’s appeal to the female audience.

Every woman loved Valentino, he portrayed exoticism; he was a vision like no ordinary American male. Every woman wanted to love Valentino, while most males disliked his antics. They felt he was an unnatural male, clearly not used to the sight of an effeminate European male figure. Hundreds of thousands of Americans showed up to the celebration of Valentino’s death. As much as you loved or hated him, you had to admire his iconic prowess.

No modern day actor compares with Valentino’s sex appeal. This was because Valentino was the first of his kind. He was a revolution to female American audiences, a sight never witnessed before. If I were to choose one modern day actor to compete with Valentino’s effect on film audiences, I would decide on Antonio Banderas. He not only can actually act well, but he has a certain sex appeal that female audiences find fascinating (American woman especially).

He’s the ideal man that a woman would desire, but never obtain, at least regarding American Woman. His exotic appeal is similar to Valentino’s, but obviously poses as much less of an iconic figure. Hansen’s beliefs on Star theory and the feminist approach would condone the placing of Antonio Banderes on the long list of exotic male actors that have had a lasting effect on the female viewing public.

Rudolf Valentino was a “one of a kind” act. No entertainer amidst the early 1900’s had such a rigorous effect on female audiences. According to Hansen, he was more of a myth than a man. Valentino was a man like no other, no actor will ever have the same effect on movie audiences, until all traces of film are lost thousands of years from now, and civilization starts over. He was something no American woman has ever seen before, he was an icon.

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