Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Film Studies


Dr. Tobias Nagl


This study examines the transnational tensions within the “star image” of the Austrian-born German actress Romy Schneider (1938-1982). After having become famous internationally at the age of 17 for her starring role in Austrian director Ernst Marischka’s popular Sissi films (1955-1957) - a trilogy of romantic biopics about the Empress Elizabeth of Austria - Schneider eventually grew to hate her typecasting as the Empress and permanently left Germany for France, developing a reputation abroad as a serious actress by appearing in numerous European and transnational art films. Schneider’s departure from the German cultural scene was not well received and is still the subject of debate today in both Germany and France. To explore the transnational tensions inherent within Romy Schneider and to explain her lasting cultural after-life across the globe, I utilize notions of stardom as “structured polysemy” developed by Richard Dyer and others. Considering connections between popular genre, historical representation and national cinema this thesis aims to put her unique “star image” into perspective and to open up star studies to transnational avenues of inquiry.



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