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  1. I have always felt that Vivien Leigh was a great film actress but that she was not a great actress on the stage and Olivier was a great stage actor but not a great film actor. Vivian Leigh was made for close-ups and for quietly speaking and subtlety. Olivier was made to leap across the stage and speak to the farthest balcony the great lines of the great playwrights. Big gestures, a powerful voice. Vivian was just the opposite. Just compare Withering Heights to GWTW and Carrie to Streetcar. Streetcar indeed is probably the greatest film performance ever. But as you said in the above review, in those good ol’ days, men were more important than women and in England movies were definitely on a lower level than the stage. Being bipolar didn’t help matters. And mental illness is never caused by someone other than the person herself or himself. I am a poet and I think that even in Ship of Fools, there is a moment when Vivien Leigh is looking into the mirror where her basic hauteur just shines through. The ravaging of a queen. She looked terrible, almost a parody of her Blanche persona. Let’s face it, after GWTW, she would have been offered every great woman’s role in Hollywood, rather than returning to England and starring in The Skin of Our Teeth. In both GWTW and Streetcar, the movie opens with a shot of Vivien. Seen back-to-back, it is truly mind boggling. In eleven years, her beauty gone, a ravaged insane woman trembles on the screen. So powerful and so different. I am always amazed at the change. Sorry for such a long e-mail but I have been mad about Vivien Leigh ever since I was in my teens and I’m now 78. Sometimes I want to beat my head against the wall when I think about her life. She only made a few movies and won two AAs. But The Roman Spring, Ship of Fools, it was like watching a shell of someone who had once been so vitally alive tore up the screen. One other thing, she’s referred to as a nymphomaniac, a rather jejune word given that sex addiction is au currant and more true. I may never be famous, it kills me but I may never get published but I know greatness when I see it. I know it because I too possess it. Well, enough about me, what do you think of me. Hahaha. I write comedy, by the way. Best wishes.

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