Film Course: Stars and Film Culture

This course will explore the historical and industrial contexts of film stardom from the 1930s through to the present day.

This eight-week film course will initially map out the importance of the star in film studies and look at a range of approaches for understanding the significance of the star at key historical moments. We will begin by looking at one of the most famous stars of all, Marilyn Monroe in terms of ideas of gender and femininity in the 1950s and her enduring appeal today. We will look in depth at a range of other case studies, from Vincent Price and Bruce Lee to Will Smith and Tilda Swinton, taking on board critical contexts such as Cult Stardom and the Ageing Star. Although the focus is predominately on Hollywood stardom, the course will also examine the case of the British star and consider stardom from a transnational perspective. In an age where the definition of celebrity and stardom is constantly evolving, this course will ask us to question, why are stars important to film culture?

Led by Dr Victoria Lowe, senior lecturer in Drama and Screen Studies at The University of Manchester.

19/10/22 Week 1. Marilyn Monroe: Gender and femininity in the 1950s

26/10/22 Week 2. Robert Donat: British screen stardom

2/11/22 Week 3. Vincent Price: Cult and Genre stardom

9/11/22 Week 4. Screening – Theatre of Blood (Hickox: 1973)

16/11/22 Week 5. Bruce Lee: Transnational stardom

23/11/22 Week 6. Will Smith: Race, Masculinity and Global Stardom

30/11/22 Week 7. Screening – Orlando (Potter: 1992)

07/12/22 Week 8. Tilda Swinton: Contemporary Female Stardom


  • Full price £85/ £80 Members / £65 concessions
  • Course ticket price includes entry to screenings.

8 weeks course beginning Wed 19 Oct 18:30 – 20:30