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The Happiness and Sadness of Hollywood Stars

(2009-10-25 09:35:01)



分类: 学位英语课文



2010年下半年学位英语  第25单元 

2009年9月版学位英语  第25单元


The Happiness and Sadness of Hollywood Stars  好莱坞影星的快乐和悲伤

Hollywood suggests glamour, a place where the young star-struck teenagers could, with a bit of luck, fulfill their dreams. Hollywood suggests luxurious houses with vast palm-fringed swimming pools. Cocktail bars and furnishings fit for a millionaire. And the big movie stars were millionaires. Many spent their fortunes on yachts, Rolls Royces and diamonds. A few of them lost their glamour quite suddenly and were left with nothing but emptiness and colossal debts.



Movies were first made in Hollywood before World War Ⅰ. The constant sunshine and mild climate of southern California made it an ideal site for shooting motion pictures. Hollywood's fame and fortune reached its peak in the 1930s and 1940s, the golden days of the black and white movies. Most of the famous motion picture corporations of those days, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Columbia and Warner Brothers are still very much in business and great stars like Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Charlie Chaplin, Gary Cooper, and many others besides, have become immortal.



In those days Hollywood was like a magnet, drawing ambitious young men and women from all over the world. Most of them had only their good looks to recommend them and had no acting experience—or ability—whatsoever. Occasionally they got jobs, if they were lucky enough to be noticed. Gray Cooper was one of the few who was noticed. He started as a stunt rider, and from there rose to be one of the great stars of the early Westerns. Many of the girls got jobs in cafes or gas stations, and as they served their customers they tossed their heads and swung their hips, hoping to attract the attention of some important person connected with the movies. Most of them hoped in vain.



As for the stars themselves, they were held on a tight rein by the studio chiefs who could make or break all but the stars with really big appeal. The stars were "persuaded" to sign seven-year contracts, during which time the studios built up their images. Under their contracts the stars did not have their right to choose their parts. Their studios decided everything.


No country in the world has developed so expertly the skill of advertising as the Americans. They advertise everything, from ice cream to candidates for the Presidency. The Hollywood studios, by means of advertising, turned starlets into superstars. Many studio chiefs were tyrants, determined to get their own way at all costs, no matter how unscrupulous the means.



Stars were often typecast and if he or she appealed to the public as a lover, then he or she always played the part of a lover. A star who was a hit as a cowboy or a bad guy, got the same kind of role again and again. There was little arguing, "you're the perfect dumb blond, baby, and that's how you're going to stay," they would say. They even tried to interfere in their stars' private lives: "No, sugar! You just can't marry Mel Billigan. He's too intellectual. He'd destroy your image." Only when they ceased to be stars did some of them discover that they were also good actors! Movie stars like Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and James Mason gave distinguished performances in character parts as well as leading roles.



Hollywood is no longer the heart of the world's motion picture industry. Most movies today are filmed on location, that is to say, in the cities, in the countryside and in any part of the world that the script demands. The Hollywood studios are still standing, but most of them have been leased to television networks. About 80% of all American TV entertainment comes from Hollywood.



Yet Hollywood has not lost all its glamour. Movie stars still live there, or in neighboring Beverley Hills, and so do many of the famous and wealthy people who have made their homes in southern California.



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