'There is a War on. Does She Know?’: Transatlantic female stardom and wartime labour in British Film Fan Magazines

Lisa Stead

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter discusses British fan magazines from the first half of the twentieth century, considering their early development and contribution to UK film culture. I focus on their wartime content and contexts in the late 1930s and early 1940s – a period that constituted ‘something of a “golden age”’ for British cinema, ‘both in terms of popularity and creativity’ (Taylor 1988: 6). In looking at British magazines in volume across the war years, this chapter considers the shape and structure of the periodicals on their own terms, illuminating the ways in which such extra-textual materials generated their own kinds of cinema culture, and mediated film for a UK readership. I thus offer a new interrogation of national specifically print cultures of cinema by focusing on wartime female stardom.
To do so, I turn to a case study of the transatlantic star Vivien Leigh, who was born to English parents in India in 1913, raised in England, and made her name as a major star in Hollywood in the late 1930s. I examine Leigh’s representation within the leading UK fan magazine of the period, Picturegoer and Film Weekly, considering its complex attempts to both establish and discredit her stardom specifically in relation to war.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMovie Magazines
PublisherUniversity of Iowa Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017


  • movie magazines
  • British cinema
  • Vivien Leigh
  • stardom
  • war

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