Star products, star capital, fan markets: Examining 1940s British film stardom through fan club publications

Ellen Wright, Phyll Smith

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper examines the development of British film stars and fan club culture during the mid to late 1940s, through studio-sanctioned fan or star-produced magazines for the official fan clubs of British actors Jean Kent, Anne Crawford, Patricia Roc and Richard Attenborough and the British fan club for American actor Deanna Durbin. These previously unexamined resources are contextualised with contemporaneous newspaper articles, novels, film magazines andindustry publications that discuss the British star system and film star fandom. Combined, these artefacts raise prescient issues around the uncredited but essential star labour that nurtured and maintained stars’ brands, star capital and fan followings and around stars as signifiers of Britishness, wealth and status during a period of socio-cultural and film industry upheaval in austerity Britain . By considering the labour and ideologies at the heart of British film star personae and film star fan culture at its zenith, this paper broadens understandings of the British film industry and its relationship with Hollywood, and offers valuable new insights into film fandom more generally, revealing a more complex, differentiated culture of British film fan consumption and authority, British star construction and dissemination, studio control, reflexivity and economic function, than commonly assumed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-443
Number of pages21
JournalCelebrity Studies
Issue number3
Early online date18 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

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