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 vivandlarry.com 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 vivandlarry.com!
Submitted to vivandlarry.com by Marina.