I am dedicating this website exclusively to Vivien Leigh, not just because she has been my idol for 10 years (ever since I was 12), but also because I feel the great need to show her to you, the visitors of this website, in her most successful years, when she was young, beautiful, healthy, at the beginning and at the peak of her career. I admit that I am not a fan of Laurence Olivier – whom I respect for being one of the most prominent actors of all time. So many people have brought tributes to “Viv and Larry” over the time, that they neglected to reflect the image of the lovely, divine, exquisite woman and actress that Vivien Leigh was. No matter what others might say, I think that Vivien’s pre-GWTW movies (all British) express her personality and physical qualities in the best manner possible.
I don’t agree with those persons who say, for instance, that Conrad Veidt was a bad choice as Vivien’s leading man in “Dark Journey”. I think they made a marvellous couple together, and I read that she really wanted to make motion pictures with him, who was the Prince of the German cinema in the glorious 20’s of Expressionism. Even if “Dark Journey” – that made Vivien famous in Great Britain – is the only movie with them together, Vivien and Conrad were about to co-star in a series of British productions: “Under the Red Robe”, “Gloriana” (known as “Fire over England”), “The Spy in Black”, “The Thief of Bagdad” – Vivien dropped down the last two projects to make “Gone With The Wind” (the perfect choice, of course), even if she was given the roles and was replaced at the last moment, just before shooting was about to start.
I also find very nice and entertaining the partnership between her and a lifelong friend, actor Rex Harrison. They made two movies together, both very successful – “Storm in a Teacup” and “Sidewalks of London” (a.k.a. “St. Martin’s Lane”). Rex was in love with Vivien, but they were never lovers.
In 1937, Vivien made the delightful comedy of MGM, “A Yank at Oxford”, in which she is extremely adorable, even if the role is quite small. She had the chance to appear opposite the handsome Robert Taylor, and their chemistry was so effective, that the producers in Hollywood remembered to cast them again, in the successful drama of 1940, “Waterloo Bridge” (Vivien’s role as a ballerina inspired other actresses, like Loretta Young, who a year later made a film about the life of a great ballerina).
And, of course, I shouldn’t neglect the fact that Vivien made three motion pictures with her lover and second husband, Laurence Olivier. They were two young lovers in Elizabethan costumes in “Fire over England”, but they lacked of success in their worst film, “21 Days Together”. They returned with “That Hamilton Woman” in 1941, a classic film, inspired, obviously, by the original silent version from 1921, with Conrad Veidt and Liane Haid.
But 1939 was the best year in Vivien’s career, as she made to perfection the portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With The Wind”. To me, she will always be the most outstanding, gifted actress of all time, because she incarnated the most beloved and talked about heroine of all time. Vivien and Scarlett are somehow in a symbiotic relationship, and that is why people think that Vivien is really Scarlett and vice versa. Vivien deserved her Oscar for Best Actress in 1940 (as well as the Oscar for “A Streetcar Named Desire”, 12 years later), and I am very happy to know that she was and still is so much loved and admired around the world.
I prefer not to say anything about Vivien’s unhappy moments in life. I don’t want to go on writing about her miscarriages, her manic despression, TB, and other strange and serious diseases she had during and after WWII, by the time she began filming “Caesar and Cleopatra” (1945). Let us not remember her as a sad, frail human being, and somewhow doomed by destiny and lost in despair; let us remember her as the splendid and intelligent actress, a divine child (as she was called by Claude Rains, in “Caesar and Cleopatra”) and a young lady that, in her heart, remained and will remain this way for ever.
The website includes, among others, a gallery and a video section, where I put all my tributes to Vivien on YouTube. The gallery consists of scans of my collection with Vivien. You might notice that I have many original items related to “Dark Journey”, and that is because it is my favourite film, along with “Gone With The Wind”. You will also find an articles section and a wallpapers page. All the scans have watermarks, because I would like my work to be respected, and also my efforts to purchase all the books, magazines and photos.
Thank you for your understanding and have a wonderful trip in the world of Vivien Leigh, the Queen of the Seventh Art!