“With the clarity, originality and depth that we have come to expect from her scholarship, Ruth Barton provides a vivid account of the performative traces of Irishness in the classical and contemporary phases of Hollywood representation. Always at pains to complicate and dimensionalize the liminal conditions of Irish performativity, she enriches our knowledge of high-profile Irish-born stars, reinstates forgotten performers into a national tradition and revises conventional wisdom about ‘the Irish actor’ in Hollywood.”
Diane Negra, Editor, The Irish in Us: Irishness, Performativity and Popular Culture, University of East Anglia
‘With ACTING IRISH IN HOLLYWOOD, Ruth Barton insightfully opens up the study of stars and acting style to compelling questions of national and post-national identity in today’s climate of globalization. Moving productively between broad theorization and trenchantly argued case study of a series of acting careers, Barton provides a well-argued account of the Irish actor in Hollywood. Her book contributes in equal measure to star studies, film industry analysis, gender study, and cultural analysis of nationhood, all with perception and compelling argument.’
Dana Polan, Cinema Studies, New York University
The first academic study of Irish film stars in Hollywood, Acting Irish in Hollywood contains ten essays on leading Irish stars: Barry Fitzgerald, George Brent, Maureen O’Sullivan, Maureen O’Hara, Constance Smith, Richard Harris, Stephen Rea, Gabriel Byrne, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Farrell. Drawing on theories of emigration, ethnicity, gender and performance, this study is both analytical and historical. It discusses the reception of these actors in America and the kind of roles they have played, paying particular attention to the history and evolution of the Irish stereotype in Hollywood cinema. Drawing on press reviews, interviews and studio publicity, we see how these actors were promoted and how they used the media to create images of themselves. Many of them have also enjoyed and continue to enjoy careers in Ireland, on stage and screen. How different were these performances? What is the relationship between Irish stage and screen? How has local Irish filmmaking benefited from the international fame enjoyed by these actors? Why has it been so much easier for male stars to succeed in Hollywood? All these questions are addressed in Acting Irish in Hollywood, which also aims to remind readers of Ireland’s forgotten film stars, particularly George Brent and Constance Smith.
Table of Contents
- Barry Fitzgerald: From the Abbey to Hollywood
- George Brent: Freedom fighter, film star
- Maureen O’Sullivan: ‘Fascinating little savage’
- Maureen O’Hara: Pirate queen, feminist icon?
- Constance Smith: Ireland’s forgotten star
- Richard Harris: Touching the gods
- Stephen Rea: Politics and the actor
- Gabriel Byrne: Gothic traveller
- Pierce Brosnan: The bonds of authenticity
- Colin Farrell: Very f***in’ Irish!
About the Author
Ruth Barton is O’Kane Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Film Studies, University College, Dublin. She has also published three previous books on Irish film and television.