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Help me like Vivien Leigh!


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Okay, here's the deal.

 

Vivien Leigh just drives me nuts.

 

She was a beautiful woman...and she took on some very difficult roles in her career...so I want to give her alot of credit. But I can't help it - she just drives me nuts.

 

Now granted, because I disliked her so much in GWTW and Streetcar, I have sorta avoided the rest of her films.

 

But the other night I TiVo'd Waterloo Bridge in an effort to work my way up from 'hatred' to maybe 'mild dislike'....or maybe even to 'indifference' *lol*

 

And she was doing SOOOO well. UNTIL that scene in the tea room where Myra meets Roy's mother and has a nervous breakdown over Roy's 'death'...but instead of doing anything productive...or even communicative...just falls apart in the most over-dramatic way possible.

 

AUGH!!!!!

 

I mean, this is a character who must have been tough - she had no family to rely on, and for who-knows-how-long had lived with that witch of a dance instructor without showing any signs of mental anguish, despite constant beratings and humiliations.

 

It just didn't make sense to me.

 

So why does Vivien always play characters who I end up suspecting of borderline (or in the case of Streetcar, not-so-borderline) mental illness? *lol* And almost as much because of the actress as because of the character she's playing?

 

Anyway, what I was wondering is if some of her fans could maybe point me to another film outside of the three I mentioned that I might like. What are her best films outside of GWTW and Streetcar?

 

I'm sure she is very good - that's not at issue in the least. It's just that every single character she plays drives me crazy. And I don't know if that's because of *her* or because of these *characters*.

 

Thanks for any help and/or suggestions.

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It's funny b/c one of the reasons I so love this actress is that she had such a tragic life that sort of mirrors her characters. For a British actress to play so many Southern belles both in bloom and post bloom is fascinating.

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Vivien Leigh really didn't make that many movies. imdb gives a total of 19. 9 of those were made before GWTW. Whether due to personal issues or professional choice, she did a lot of stage work instead. I'd like to suggest "That Hamilton Woman." Being an admirer of both Leigh and Olivier, this film is a treasure to me. I also enjoy an early Leigh film entitled "Sidewalks of London" (aka "St Martin's Lane). In my opinion, she was a lovely and talented actress but I certainly understand that we all have actresses who touch us with their performances and others who don't. I admire your attempts in trying to like Vivien Leigh.

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I thought Vivien Leigh was great in "Gone with the Wind" and "A Streetcar Named Desire." She was very attractive and a good actress.

 

I enjoyed her most in "Streetcar Named Desire"...Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando had terrific chemistry in this film...however, I think Marlon Brando completely stole the show - one of the best performances I've ever seen!!!

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Thanks albatros1,

 

This is what I needed - suggestions! By the end of "Waterloo Bridge" I was coming close to throwing stuff at the TV ( *lol*) ...and so I really want to try and make the next one of her films something that comes highly recommended.

 

I will be on the lookout for "Ship of Fools"! I really appreciate the tip!

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Hi movielover11,

 

I don't doubt for a minute that she is very attractive and a good actress. That is not at issue here.

 

The leading men in the films are not at issue either - I ADORE both Clark Gable (actually, my feelings about him border on 'worship' )and Marlon Brando, and while I wasn't that fond of Taylor in Waterloo Bridge, I liked him very much in Camille, with Garbo.

 

It's just that I have seen only 3 of Vivien Leigh's films (as I posted in my first post, GWTW, Streetcar, and Waterloo Bridge), and I just couldn't STAND her character in any of them.

 

What I'm trying to get here are some suggestions for OTHERS of her films - films in which perhaps I will think her characters less annoying.

 

It is obvious as day that she's a beautiful woman...and I have no specific complaints about her acting as such. And this was not intended as a 'trash Vivien Leigh' thread where people were challenged to 'prove me wrong' about GWTW or Streetcar.

 

I started this thread to get genuine suggestions from folks about other films I might try *besides* GWTW, Streetcar, and Waterloo Bridge.

 

See...cus I WANT to like her. I really do. But in 3 out of 3 films I've seen her in, I just wanted to throw stuff at the TV by the end of them. *lol*

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Hi anacanapanasan,

 

Thanks so much for the suggestion. I like Olivier very much already and will put "That Hamilton Woman" on my list of films to try and catch!

 

Your suggestion is very much appreciated! :)

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I love Vivien but can't stand GWTW. It's not her so much as the movie in general. I think her Character in Dark Voyage? is a little different from the other characters she played so you may like that one. I liked a Yank at Oxford but her part is very small.

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Thank you very much deadpandiva,

 

"Dark Voyage" might be just the ticket, because I *think* (hope?) my dislike is more because of the characters I've seen her play than because of the actress herself!

 

This is another film I've now put on my little list of films to try and catch.

 

Thanks so much for your response. :)

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ptrekgirl wrote:

So why does Vivien always play characters who I end up suspecting of borderline (or in the case of Streetcar, not-so-borderline) mental illness?

 

 

You may already know this, but perhaps it is because Leigh suffered from serious mental illness in real life (I think she had what is now called bipolar disorder). Perhaps she sometimes let the "out-of-control" reactions she might have had to true-life catastrophes influence the way she acted in scripted ones.

 

But do try the British films others mentioned, pk. Maybe films more "native" to her would have greater appeal. Keep in mind, though--there's lots of stars out there, and we can't adore them all!

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No doubt, Vivien Leigh was a beautiful actess although also a manic depressive (bipolar disorder), for which relief through medication wasn't available in her time.

It's possible her neurotic nature showed up in her film roles from time to time, especially in "Ship of Fools" and "A Streetcar Named Desire".

 

To be fair, she was following the script and direction of the character in her films which isn't always satisfactory to the moviegoer who feels sometimes that she shoulda, woulda, coulda.

 

Other than some of the films suggested, you may want to try "The Sidewalks of London" (1938) with Charles Laughton, and her portrayal of "Anna Karenina" (1948).

I think that you'll find that "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" (1961) and "The Deep Blue Sea" (1951) to be depressing.

 

By the way, her role as Myra in "Waterloo Bridge" was her favorite.

 

She is a favorite of mine and an outstanding actress. Scarlett O'Hara forever.

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Thanks, daddysprimadonna!

 

I have only seen Garbo's version, and I really enjoyed it.

 

I'll now have to try the Vivien Leigh version!

 

Cool! I'm getting quite a little list here, guys!

 

Thanks tons for all the suggestions!!!! This is fantastic! :D

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You and I both-getting a list of Vivien Leigh's movies,I mean,to watch-I've never seen "That Hamilton Woman" and I really want to see it. I've seen most of the others mentioned-I also saw her play Ophelia in Lawrence Olivier's version of "Hamlet". She was good in it,which had to be difficult,playing in a film with the likes of Lawrence Olivier. From what I've read,she wasn't shabby as a stgae actress,though she'd never have been what's considered a "great" stage actress.

 

 

 

 

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Well, considering she was only in about 20 films, she made quite a name for herself as a screen actress, in any event!

 

That is what is so impressive about her...and why I really want to like her! Overcame tremendous personal difficulties and became a sought-after screen actress in 20 films.

 

I'm just *convinced* I just have to find the 'right' film. *lol*

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daddysprimadonna,

Quote:

"I also saw her play Ophelia in Lawrence Olivier's version of "Hamlet". She was good in it,which had to be difficult,playing in a film with the likes of Lawrence Olivier. From what I've read,she wasn't shabby as a stgae actress,though she'd never have been what's considered a "great" stage actress."

 

I spent a lot of time trying to think of the Vivien Leigh performance that was notably different than her performances in "GWTW" or, "Waterloo Bridge". I knew I had seen Vivien recently in some movie that 'fit the bill'.

 

I read your message and thought, "yeah, that's it--Lawrence Olivier's 'Hamlet'". I looked up "Vivien Leigh" on IMDB. No "Hamlet" for Vivien Leigh's filmography?! I then looked up "Hamlet". Oh, Jean Simmons played Ophelia!

 

daddysprimadonna...Vivien Leigh and Jean Simmons? Those two are swap-able!

 

Rusty

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