The Rules of the Game. Fascinating look at Hollywood publicity.
Once contracted, the so-called “glamour factory” began transforming the raw goods into stars. Contracted players attended elocution, swimming, etiquette, singing, dancing, and dozens of other classes; teeth were straightened, hairlines corrected, hair color altered. The actor would be tested in a number of roles, working to find a romantic pairing or genre that fit his/her look and skill set. Once a particular persona (the “girl next door,” the “vamp”) was decided, various departments worked to create an extra-textual image to reflect it: a new name, a slightly altered background, an appropriate wardrobe, an accent, a hairstyle. Studios then expected stars to adhere to their prescribed images on-camera and off. Barbara Rush, for example, was required to “always look like a lady,” while Anita Ekberg “should look sexy, although her blouse musn’t be cut too low.”