Category: guest post

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Vivien and Larry at the Gone With the Wind Premiere

Wednesday December 15 marks the 71st anniversary of the start of the 3 day Gone with the Wind premier in Atlanta, GA.  To mark the occasion, I thought it would be interesting to get some information about Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier at the premier.  So, I’m happy to introduce our guest blogger, Denise.  Denise is a freelance writer and marketing consultant based in NC.  She is the administrator for a Facebook fan page, GWTW…But Not Forgotten and devotes her free time to studying the book, film, and the people who were behind it all.  She is a fountain of GWTW knowledge and I encourage you to join her facebook page for daily trivia, photos, and other goodies related to everyone’s favorite Civil War epic.  Thanks, Denise!


When David O. Selznick undertook the mammoth task of translating Margaret Mitchell’s 1037 page masterpiece into a workable script – he didn’t seek to achieve mere adequacy.  Everything had to be bigger, better, and grander than anything that had ever graced the silver screen.  From the sweeping titles to the magnificent costumes to the extensive script revisions…mediocre was not in his vocabulary.

And so too were Selznick’s plans for the premiere for Gone With the Wind.  Originally scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of the Burning of Atlanta (November 15), production delays caused the premiere to be pushed back to December 15, 1939 and would be hosted at the real-life location of Gone With the Wind’s story – Atlanta, GA.  This was an unprecedented move to premiere a film outside of Hollywood or New York.

The grand event would be the very definition of Hollywood glamour and the three days of festivities would include receptions, luncheons, the Atlanta Junior League Gone With the Wind Ball, a benefit dance to support the Atlanta Historical Society, and of course, the movie premiere.  In attendance would be notable names such as Margaret Mitchell and her husband John Marsh, David and Irene Selznick, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, and of course, Vivien Leigh.
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classic film general discussion guest post the oliviers travel

Guest Post: Revisiting the San Ysidro Ranch fan Shiroma from Australia has had the pleasure of visiting the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, CA–the site where the Oliviers were married in 1940.  San Ysidro is a very she-she luxury resort today and often attracts A-list celebrities.  In the Oliviers’ day, the Ranch was owned by actor Ronald Coleman and his wife Benita.  Larry and Vivien, wanting to wed in private and doing their best to keep it from the press, were urged by the Colemans to get married outside of LA.  With Katharine Hepburn and Garson kanin in tow, Larry and Vivien drove up to Santa Barbara and were married just after midnight on August 30, 1940.  They honeymooned on the Coleman’s yacht out at Catalina, off the coast of Long Beach.

Shiroma now shares her story (and photos) of walking in the Oliviers’ footsteps with  Thanks, Shiroma!

And as a side note, Santa Barbara s a beautiful town, and highly recommended for California visitors.

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A Very British Affair: Cecil Beaton and the Oliviers

Continuing with “Vivien in Fashion” Week, today we throw the spotlight on photographer and costume designer Cecil Beaton. Cecil is perhaps the most interesting of all of the Vogue photographers who photographed Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier because he also had somewhat of a personal relationship with them as well as a professional one.

Vivien and Cecil in Paris for Anna Karenina costume fittings, 1947

Since I first became interested in vintage fashion and photography, I have been interested in Beaton’s photographs of Vivien Leigh in particular (and he did take my all time favorite portrait of Laurence Olivier in 1948).  Cecil was the photographer on Caesar and Cleopatra, and the costume designer for Anna Karenina as well as for the play The School for Scandal which the Oliviers performed in 1948 and 49.  In my opinion, he took the best photos of Vivien Leigh, and his abrupt falling out with the Oliviers in 1948 makes me rather sad.  But it is an interesting story, so I thought it would be nice to hear about their personal and professional relationship from someone who knows quite a bit about it.

Most of you know Hugo Vickers for writing the definitive biography on Vivien Leigh.  He is also the Literary Executor for the Cecil Beaton Estate and has published Beaton’s biography and diaries.  He was very kind in writing out the tale of the Oliviers and Cecil Beaton especially for Thanks, Hugo!

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