Category: cinema archive

cinema archive tv appearances

“The Skin of Our Teeth” Starring Vivien Leigh

In 1959, Vivien Leigh gave her only full-length television performance in a filmed version of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth.  She plays Lily-Sabina Fairweather (often just called Sabina in the play), a character she had made famous nearly 15 years earlier on the London stage.  This adaptation was televised live by Granada Television and today is virtually non-existent.  We weren’t sure if it was still out there, or if it had been locked away in some vault, or worse yet, lost or destroyed.  So imagine my surprise and utter delight when I received an email from a visitor saying she had an archive copy and wanted to send it over!

Though there are three acts in Wilder’s play, only the first two are shown in this broadcast.  We aren’t sure if Act 3 was even filmed.  Vivien is a delight to watch.  In her original run back in 1945-46, critic James Agate described her as “half dabchick, half dragonfly.”  She brings the same flirtatiousness and comedic timing to this performance, and never misses a beat.  I really like how this TV production was staged, substituting the cameras for the audience.  I also think it’s funny how Vivien plays two characters:  Sebina, and Ms. Sommerset (the actress playing Sebina within the play).  Her accent swiftly changes from a Scarlett-Blanche hybrid to her normal posh British at the drop of a hat. George Devine provides good comedic support as Mr. Antrobus.

This program is truly a lost treasure (you can see it in 2 parts below), and I am very proud to be presenting it here at!

Submitted to by Marina.

Part 1

Part 2

cinema archive screentests

Rebecca Screentests: Vivien Leigh Hair & Make-up

Hair and make-up tests for Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca. Vivien Leigh was tested with Margaret Sullivan and Anne Baxter. I left the commentary by film historian Leonard J. Luff in the video because I think it’s interesting.

cinema archive screentests

Rebecca Screentests: Vivien Leigh & Laurence Olivier

After wrapping Gone with the Wind, Vivien Leigh determinedly screen tested for the role of “I” in Alfred Hitchcok’s Rebecca. It seems her motive had more to do with working opposite Olivier than any specific interest in the role itself or the film. SHe did two screen tests, one opposite Laurence Olivier and another opposite Alan Marshal. Comparing the two yields interesting results. While in the Marshal screentest, she is a veritable Scarlett O’Hara, in this one she seems much more subdued and quietly passionate.

cinema archive screentests

Rebecca Screentests: Vivien Leigh & Alan Marshal

Laurence Olivier was not the only leading man whom Vivien Leigh tested opposite for the role of “I” in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940). Here she is with actor Alan Marshal reading the part of Max DeWinter.

cinema archive documentaries

Legends: Vivien Leigh

Legends: Vivien Leigh was produced by the BBC in 2000. This shortened documentary gives an overview of Vivien Leigh’s life and career and showcases many rare color photos of the late actress. Commentary by Hugo Vickers, David Lewin, Tarquin Olivier, Trader Faulkner, Colin Clark and others.

Sent to by Chris