Writers on Film
Will Scheibel talks Gene Tierney and Hollywood Stardom
Will Scheibel is associate professor of English at Syracuse University, where he teaches film and screen studies. He is the coauthor of Twin Peaks, a volume in the TV Milestones Series (Wayne State University Press, 2020), with Julie Grossman. His articles have appeared in numerous journals, including Camera Obscura, Film Criticism, Journal of Gender Studies, and Celebrity Studies.
Here's the blurb from the book:
Gene Tierney may be one of the most recognizable faces of studio-era Hollywood: she starred in numerous classics, including Leave Her to Heaven, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and Laura, with the latter featuring her most iconic role. While Tierney was considered one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, she personified "ordinariness" both on- and off-screen. Tierney portrayed roles such as a pinup type, a wartime worker, a wife, a mother, and, finally, a psychiatric patient—the last of which may have hit close to home for her, as she would soon leave Hollywood to pursue treatment for mental illness and later attempted suicide in the 1950s. After her release from psychiatric clinics, Tierney sought a comeback as one of the first stars whose treatment for mental illness became public knowledge. In this book, Will Scheibel not only examines her promotion, publicity, and reception as a star but also offers an alternative history of the United States wartime efforts demonstrated through the arc of Tierney’s career as a star working on the home front. Scheibel’s analysis aims to showcase that Tierney was more than just "the most beautiful woman in movie history," as stated by the head of production at Twentieth Century Fox in the 1940s and 1950s. He does this through an examination of her making, unmaking, and remaking at Twentieth Century Fox, rediscovering what she means as a movie legend both in past and up to the present. Film studies scholars, film students, and those interested in Hollywood history and the legacy of Gene Tierney will be delighted by this read.