Category: general discussion

classic film film diary general discussion

The Mysterious Mrs. Danvers: Queer Subtext in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca

This post is part of the Queer Film Blogathon currently being hosted by Caroline at Garbo Laughs to celebrate gay pride month. The aim of the blogathon is to examine films that feature “lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or otherwise non-heterosexual, non-gender-binary depictions or personages in film.” For an overview of queer film theory, click here.

The film I’d like to focus on is David O. Selznick’s adaptation of Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca (1940). Many scholars of queer film theory have written of the relationship between Manderley’s mysterious and frightening Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) and the ghostly but ever-present Rebecca. Rhona J. Berenstien notes that the horror genre is “a primary arena for sexualities and practices that fall outside the purview of patriarchal culture, and the subgeneric tropes of the unseen, the ghost and the haunted house…Portraying lesbians as ghosts in Hollywood movies is, then, directly linked to cultural attitudes and anxieties about homosexuality. The lesbian is a paradoxical figure; she is an invisible–yet representational–threat.”

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Kindred Spirits

There are few things that give me as much pleasure as meeting kindred classic film-loving spirits. And I don’t just mean classic films in general (although, don’t get me wrong, that’s always amazing!), I mean people who share my enthusiasm for Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier specifically. I love blogging and maintaining this website because I’ve “met” a lot of really awesome people with whom I can talk about these things via email, facebook, twitter, etc. But the number of people I’ve met outside of the internet who really get it can be counted on one hand. Most people just can’t be bothered, and because I know this, a lot of times I feel shy or nervous about talking about it for fear of being laughed at or dismissed as a “crazy fan”. Yes, this is technically considered “fandom” and I know it’s looked down upon, at least within the film studies community (although, that’s not always the case, as I discovered after a chat with one of my film tutors last semester). But sometimes I tell myself, “Hey, at least I’m passionate about it, and I take it seriously while still having fun with it. Isn’t that all that matters?” I think that is all that matters.

Something extraordinary happened this week: I met not one, but two fellow fans right here in London!

Yesterday I had coffee near Holborn with Sameera, a lovely British girl who is working on her own epic project about Vivien Leigh. She got in touch with me via, we met over skinny lattes and ended up chatting about all things Larry and Vivien for hours! It was fabulous. I can’t wait to see the awesome things she’s cooking up!

Last Sunday, I met up with another fan of the site. Lena B., a gorgeous lady from Sweden has been sharing photos from her Vivien Leigh collection with the site since it launched back in 2007. You’ve probably seen them in the gallery! She was in London on holiday and we met in Covent Garden and had a lovely discussion about Larry and Vivien over croissants and coffee at Paul, my favorite  patisserie. Lena had an amazing gift for me: pretty much her entire collection of vintage Vivien Leigh magazines!

Can you believe it?! Seriously, how nice is that? I am still a bit overwhelmed by her generosity. I am not worthy! Lena thought I probably had most of them, but it turns out that I didn’t, and I didn’t even know some of them existed! I do already own some, so it’s likely you may see a few of these lovely publications pop up as contest prizes here on! They are definitely in good hands, and will be extremely useful for my dissertation, which I’m starting on as soon as I finish my current school assignments (which I would be more enthusiastic about if I wasn’t home sick with whatever nasty virus is going around right now). Thanks a million for being so kind, Lena!

It warms my heart that there are people who admire Larry and Vivien as much as I do, and who are eager to help spread the love! I am getting really excited about the meet up next month! I’m really curious to know: have you met other fans (of Larry or Vivien, Gone with the Wind, etc.) in real life? If so, where and what was it like? Tell us about it!

general discussion laurence olivier the oliviers vivien leigh

Larry, Vivien and the Rumor Mill

As of late, there has been much debate/discussion on the Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier Facebook page regarding Laurence Olivier’s sexual orientation. There have been many rumors about both Larry and Vivien for as long as anyone can remember. Just recently a book called Damn You, Scarlett O’Hara was published that’s overflowing with them. But the main rumor that’s pervaded the scene since Donald Spoto published his biography of Laurence Olivier is that Larry was bisexual. The subject of sex and famous people’s sex lives is the hot ticket, especially in this day and age. I don’t focus on this topic here at very often, if at all, but since it keeps popping up elsewhere, and since it was pointed out yesterday that I “have virtually ignored [the subject] in my research as hearsay”, I decided it might be best to just put my two cents here, and simply refer people to it when asked so as not to have to keep repeating myself in long-winded arguments.

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Vivien Leigh and Bipolar Disorder

April 11-17 marks Depression Awareness Week in the UK. The week-long event is organized by the Depression Alliance UK in effort to raise funds for mental health research and provide education in the hopes of reducing the stigma attached to depression and other mental illnesses.

As I’m sure most visitors know, Vivien Leigh was a victim of bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, understanding and treatment of major mental illnesses was crude in Vivien’s time. This post is not meant to be a definitive manual on what it’s like living with bipolar disorder. I’m not a psychologist and don’t claim to be any sort of expert. Rather, my goal with this post is to use medical information as well as reports from those close to Vivien to piece something together in hopes of better understanding what Vivien went through. I also hope it sheds light on the  difficulties Laurence Olivier had in coping with Vivien’s illness, which eventually played a large part in the disintegration of their marriage.

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general discussion the oliviers Celebrates 4 Years Online!

Today marks 4 years since was officially launched online! I say this every year, but it’s true, I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s lasted this long. What’s more, I can’t believe how much this little site has grown since 2007. has had many faces over the years, and what started from humble beginnings (self-taught web design, yikes!) has grown into a large online network.

I never thought it would get this big or that it would touch so many. Maintaining a website that is always growing is genuinely hard work and time consuming, but I am constantly reminded why it’s all worth it. The site has certainly come a long way. I’ve met some amazing people through the site–both casual acquaintances and close personal friends–and nothing warms my heart more than knowing that there is a community of dedicated, passionate, and knowledgeable fans out there  who are as fascinated with the Oliviers, their films, their friends, and their lasting legacy as I am. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for all of your support of the site over these past 4 years. Whether you have donated money for site upkeep, shared videos and photos, commented on the blog posts, sent encouraging emails, or simply just continued to come back to the site to browse, I can’t thank you enough.

I’m still as fascinated with Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier as I was when I started this site, and even after years of research, I know there is still so much out there that has yet to be compiled. Big things are on the horizon! So, here’s to the next four years. I’ll be here, and I hope you stick around, too.



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