Category: cinema archive

cinema archive documentaries vivien leigh

Vivien Leigh: Made in Japan

Vivien Leigh japanese Documentary

A couple of years ago, I did a contest on this site during which I gave away a couple copies of a recently released Japanese documentary about Vivien Leigh. I’m still not sure exactly what it’s called, but according to my Japanese-British friend, it’s something like, “Vivien Leigh: Young Heroine that Loved Eternally.” I call it “The Japanese Vivien Leigh Documentary.”

Made by Basara Ltd. in 2010 as part of a series of TV documentaries that focused on classic film stars that are still big in Japan, “The Japanese Vivien Leigh Documentary” takes a unique approach to telling Vivien’s story. Rather than just replaying Vivien Leigh’s life through photos and video footage, it follows her great-granddaughter, Sophie Farrington, on a journey of discovery. Sophie travelled to London and Hollywood (and to Notley Abbey and Tickerage Mill) to interview those who are still alive who knew Vivien, and in the process learned more about her famous relative.

Like any documentary, there are good and bad things about this one.

The Good:

  • It’s really interesting to see members of Vivien’s family today, especially considering how private they’ve always been.
  • There are people interviewed here that I’d never seen in previous documentaries.
  • Hearing audio clips of Jack Merivale speaking about Vivien Leigh in an interview with Hugo Vickers.
  • I got to help as a photo consultant. Many of the photos used as filler came from my personal collection.

The Bad:

  • The editing is very, very sloppy. You’ll notice things like people being cut off mid-sentence, the English translator whispering in the background, cameramen not ducking out of the shots in time.
  • Random historical re-enactments.
  • They interviewed Sophie having dinner at the Olive Garden. Okay, maybe that should be in the “good” section.
  • Sparkly purple text.
  • No English subtitles, including names of people being interviewed.

People featured include Hugo Vickers, Trader Faulkner, Tarquin Olivier, Ann Rutherford, Daniel Selznick, Sally Hardy (Jack Merivale’s step-sister), Louise Olivier, Rupert Farrington and Amy Farrington.

This documentary has a running time of 90 minutes. It has been uploaded exclusively for readers here at and cannot be found on DVD.



cinema archive screentests

Rare Gone with the Wind Screen Test


First, I wanted to extend a huge thanks to everyone who participated in the Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier Appreciation Blogathon over the weekend. I was so impressed with the consistent quality of the posts across the board. You all are a bunch of fabulous writers! We had posts about everything from people who knew Vivien Leigh to why people should stop calling Laurence Olivier a hammy screen actor, and everything in between. I was really glad to see posts about films which aren’t mentioned as often when discussing Vivien Leigh or Laurence Olivier, such as Sleuth, As You Like It and Sidewalks of London. Well done, everyone!

Second, now that I’m in California for a spell, I have a little bit of time to make some actual site updates. First up is some rare video footage of a wardrobe test from Gone with the Wind. It was submitted to by Chris, who says that the lady on the left is Margaret Talichett, the former wife of director William Wyler. Talichett tested for the part of Scarlett O’Hara, and then tested as one of the sisters (I’m guessing Carreen, what do you think?). The footage comes from the 1986 documentary Directed By William Wyler.



cinema archive documentaries

Celebrating the Southbank Show: Laurence Olivier

In early 2010 after 30 years and 800 episodes, Melvyn Bragg’s Southbank Show came to an end. One of his most notable interviewees was Laurence Olivier (this interview was turned into the Emmy-winning documentary Laurence Olivier: A Life). In this clip from Celebrating the Southbank Show, which aired on ITV3 in September 2008, Melvyn Bragg reminisces about his experience interviewing Olivier, and the drunken day in Brighton that ensued.

Submitted to by Chris


cinema archive

TCM Star of the Month: Vivien Leigh


September 2010 sees Vivien Leigh as Star of the Month on Turner Classic Movies. Every Tuesday this month they are paying homage to Vivien’s timeless beauty and exceptional talent by screening nearly her entire film resume. TCM is also known for its brilliant “commercials,” or montages about classic cinema.

These are two they have expertly designed to pay tribute to Vivien.
Thanks to Ashley for submitting these to

Star of the Month: Vivien Leigh

TCM Now Playing September

cinema archive vlogs

Leigh/Olivier Q&A (#7)

Hey everyone,

Long time, no q&a post!  Here’s the next installment.  As always, thank you to everyone who wrote in with a question.  I’m so impressed with the variety of the questions you continue to ask–it’s lovely to know that people are so interested in the different aspects of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier’s careers and lives!

I hope you enjoy this one; next one will be from London!

To have your questions answered in a video post, please leave them over at the formspring.

Edit re: the question about Pickfair. Douglas Fairbanks was Mary Pickford’s second husband, not first.