Comebacks, Cameos, and Camp: The Return of the Aging Star

Gloria Monti's picture
Call for Publications
October 1, 2021 to February 1, 2022
California, United States
Subject Fields: 
Film and Film History

This anthology offers the first-ever in-depth analysis of instances in which popular cinema recasts stars from an earlier generation — stars whose careers have faded or perhaps vanished, and yet who remain, despite this, immediately recognizable to viewers everywhere—sometimes in showy roles, but more often in supporting or cameo roles. This practice succeeds in being both self-referential (pointing toward the status of the representation as just that, representation) and intertextual (using an actor in a role that echoes or contradicts an earlier, iconic performance) relocating the text in question into a larger pantheon of cinema history. Please note, this anthology is not about stars who worked continuously in the industry to eventually play older characters.


This collection brings together essays written by historians, theorists, and critics from disciplines across the humanities and social sciences spectra on the topic of the appearance of “faded” stars in films from around the world. From Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (Wilder, US 1950), Yvonne Sanson in Il conformista (Bertolucci, Italy 1970) to Marlene Dietrich in Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo (Hemmings, West Germany 1978), films that feature well-known stars from the past foreground issues related to growing older, both in the entertainment industry and in everyday life, while also opening up avenues for the discussion and analysis of media and cultural history/histories from new or multiple perspectives. The approach of this collection is highly interdisciplinary; its scope is global. As such, it will provide both a valuable research tool to scholars working in media and cultural studies, and an informative resource to those with a passionate interest in cinema and film culture.


Deadline for abstracts: 1 October 2021

Deadline for final papers: 1 February 2022


Contact Info: 

Gloria Monti

Associate Professor

California State University, Fullerton

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