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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.

  2. I PRAY that Durham House was saved!!!!!! I just “happened” upon an article about Vivien and Lawrence and this house and realized I LVED THERE!!!!!!!!! I lived at Durham house after Vivien Leigh died. My parent were designers and I learned to walk in that house and just found the picture and 35mm slides of the front gate, my dad walking to work and remember my first “real Christmas” in 1968 there….. I went to Christ Church Primary school- which my Governess would walk me to and from every day and we eventually moved across Burton Court to Franklins Row….. I am ASTONISHED that it virtually has not changed!!!!!!!! Despite having the same last name “Leigh”…. we are of no relation (that I know of) but when we came to the United States we ended up living in actress Vivian Vance’s former home…… which I still own after some 42 years……. the irony is mind blowing…..

    1. Melissa…luved your post but just to mention that Leigh was the middle name of Vivien’s first husband (Herbert) and she took it as her stage name…Vivien Leigh. She was actually born Vivian Mary Hartley in Darjeeling India!

  3. Hi I live only yards from Durham Cottage. Pleased. To say it is not being pulled down but very carefully restored but with a new underground floor.
    You must have seen the restoration plans on the internet.
    Regards TEDDY

  4. I got a kick out of the caption for your photo of the front of Culver Studios. Yes, visiting there is a very geek moment, especially when you know that the front was used for Tara in Gone with the Wind! My son auditioned there in the 90’s.

    MGM in the 90’s was still like walking through history. (My son played Charlie’s son on Party of Five, and auditioned over there too.) Couriers rode around on bicycles with a basket hanging from the handlebars. On our way to an audition for Jerry McGuire, walking past a building on the Columbia lot, I saw it had been dedicated to Gene Kelly, which brought tears because Gene Kelly had just died. I had been a dancer, and was a great fan. But Ted Turner bought MGM, raping it for the film roster, sold it to Sony, and now I understand Sony has all but wiped out the MGM name, using Columbia Pictures instead. I’m so glad to see people interested in saving our Hollywood history.

    In the 70’s I studied fashion and costuming. There was a Costume Museum on Hollywood Blvd where I saw one of Dorothy’s dresses, the original SILVER slippers, and Tippi Hedren’s green suit from The Birds. I saw costumes being made and leather work being done for the second Star Wars movie at Western Costume. Where have all of these pieces of history ended up? Debbie Reynolds tried to save them, but it ended up bankrupting her, and her collection has been sold off.

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