Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Embracing Star Couples: Contextualising Star Images in Hollywood's Studio Era

Polley, Sarah Jayne (2017) Embracing Star Couples: Contextualising Star Images in Hollywood's Studio Era. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.65201) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:65201)

Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only
[thumbnail of 63Sarah Polley Embracing Star Couples PhD Thesis .pdf]
Official URL:


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.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Jeffers McDonald, Tamar
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.65201
Additional information: The author of this thesis has requested that it be held under closed access. We are sorry but we will not be able to give you access or pass on any requests for access. 05/07/21
Uncontrolled keywords: Stars, Star Couples, Hollywood's Studio Era, Screen Images, Star Images, Fan Magazines, Richard Dyer, Star Studies Theory, Star Studies Methodology, Tropes, Romance, U.S. History, Gender, Charles Farrell, Janet Gaynor, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Walter Pidgeon, Greer Garson
Subjects: N Visual Arts
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2017 12:10 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2022 07:33 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Polley, Sarah Jayne.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.