Rock Hudson: Star Studies

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


    The aim of this book is to reclaim Rock Hudson as an important film actor and identify the specific qualities of his performances and his image that made him one of the most popular and successful male film stars of his generation. Hudson is not usually regarded as a great actor (even though he received an Oscar nomination for Giant) and the intention here is not to make such a hyperbolic claim. He is nonetheless an important figure in cinema history for several reasons and largely because his construction as a star, his performances and his career reveal a great deal about the nature of American popular culture and attitudes towards gender and sexuality during the years when his career started, his ascent to stardom in the 1950s and early 60s and his later career on TV during the 1970s. With a manufactured name, designed to connote images of solidity and permanence and his equally scrupulously designed professional image, Hudson seems like the supreme example of the manufactured Hollywood star from the era where the studio system was in rapid and terminal decline. It has become a commonplace to suggest that he is the epitome (alongside actors like Cary Grant or John Wayne) of a moribund masculinity in the face of a more questioning model of manhood offered by James Dean, Marlon Brando and Paul Newman. The book interrogates and questions some of the assumptions that lie behind this orthodox account and by so doing recuperate Hudson as a star who embodies the period of transition between the old Hollywood and the new. The aim here is to consider Hudson as an actor whose work and image reveal levels of representational and cultural complexity that is both richer and more ambiguous than the standard account seems to suggest. As Hudson long-time friend George Nader was to note ?There is no Rock Hudson. There are many Rock Hudsons?
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLondon, UK
    PublisherBFI Publishing
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - Mar 2015


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