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Title: Embracing star couples : contextualising star images in Hollywood's studio era
Author: Polley, Sarah Jayne
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 2474
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2017
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Much star studies theory, following key theorist Richard Dyer (1998/1979; 1986), continues a focus on 'the star' in isolation. This thesis, however, places stars within the context of other stars. Specifically, I analyse three popular star couples from Hollywood's Studio Era. Star couples played an important part in Hollywood production and reception, with many films employing a male and a female star involved in a romantic plot. My case studies of Charles Farrell and Janet Gaynor (partnered in films from 1927-1934), William Powell and Myrna Loy (1934-1947), and Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson (1941-1953) focus on their representation in fan magazines. Fan magazines are rich and complex sites of star and audience interaction, with these publications misleadingly implying that they provide access to the 'real' star. In fact, as Dyer has commented, we are only ever offered a carefully constructed media text - a 'star image' - comprised of promotion, publicity, films, and criticism and commentary. Fan magazines have recently become increasingly available to researchers via digital platforms, making my advancing of a rigorous, yet flexible, methodology especially relevant. Expanding on recent work on tropes in fan magazine coverage, I analyse themes occurring in these stars' screen and star images. Comparison within and between these star couples affords insights into what found favour with audiences at different times, especially in relation to romance. The thesis also sheds light on the intricate ways Hollywood negotiated its presentation of screen and star images within the framework of myriad stars.
Supervisor: Jeffers McDonald, Tamar Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N Fine Arts