Star system (filmmaking)

Under the star system refers to the method by which film actresses were brought out as stars in the studio system of Hollywood. The star system was developed in the 1920s and ended in the 1950s.

Characteristic of the star system is the exclusive binding of a star to a single film production company that takes the employee for this purpose the long term ( 5-7 years) under contract. The glamor of Hollywood Studios based on the glamor of the stars that were committed there. Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer, of all companies in Hollywood one that most drove the star system at the top, advertised with the slogan All the Stars in Heaven ( German: " All -Stars: Stars in the sky "). The image, which developed the PR departments of companies for their stars - often with complete reinvention of a biography - was tailored to the image of the respective studios.

The performers were bound by multi-year contracts to the company and committed to participate in a certain number of films per year. Among the production projects ( scenarios ) that were presented to them, they could make a choice. The contract guaranteed a - often very high - Gage, prominent stars had often claim to first billing, that is, naming them in the movie title in the first place. The most important stars in a company could expect scripts that were written them on the body, often they also had influence on the choice of the director and her co-star. Many companies treated their stars as " little gods ", but the real influence of the stars generally ended where the business interests of the production company began. Since the marketability of a star under the conditions of the star system is highly depended on its recognition value, the type casting affected the performer especially in their freedom to artistic development.

Also supporting actor and performer who had no star rank, were in the studio system of long- term and exclusive contracts, but were paid less and could take no Star privileges to complete.

The rule that stars were tied to a single company, was breached by the practice of companies to performers on the basis of reciprocity " borrowing" (loan- out).

The star system collapsed with the crisis in the American film industry was in the 1950s. The traditional long-term contracts were gradually by one picture deals (contracts, which require the performer to participate in a single film ) replaced.

Comparable conditions in other countries


In Germany, a star system with the rise of Ufa founded in 1919 started to develop because here were large production budget available and the Ufa own cinema chain guaranteed high grossing results. The most popular actors like Emil Jannings, Pola Negri, Lya de Putti or Conrad Veidt could be paid at a level salaries that could compete with Hollywood.

During the period of National Socialism, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels drove the development of the star system continues to advance, because the stars were needed to give the regime glamor and since many of the most popular stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo had gone to Hollywood. Again, it was especially the financially strong Ufa, which produced the new stars like Zarah Leander or Marika Rokk and built. One of the highest paid performers but also included artists such as Hans Albers, whose careers began before 1933 (see also: National Socialist film policy). The Nazi star system was 1945.

Although the German film industry even after the end of World War II continues to international stars such as Lilli Palmer, Romy Schneider, Jürgen Prochnow, Armin Mueller-Stahl and Til Schweiger have emerged, these were never more than " figureheads " for individual production companies; insofar as the term " star system " not applicable here. In the GDR, many actors had contracts with the DEFA or the DFF and belonged to the respective acting ensemble on. A " star system " could not give it official ideological reasons, are.


The so-called Bollywood cinema is supported by a strong star system. Stars of contemporary Hindi film are Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra or Rani Mukerji. Some of these are played by actors now also in the western theater in appearance.