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Year end wrap-up 2011


As we get older, time seems to go by faster and faster. Here we are at the end of yet another year. But 2011 was a memorable one for many reasons. I finished graduate school with distinction, wrote a really long paper on Vivien Leigh and film stardom, traveled to some amazing places including Paris and Poland, went back home to visit my family and friends in California, got an agent and am working hard on a book, saw Gone with the Wind on the big screen and met some amazing people both through this website and otherwise. It was also a big year for Here’s a round-up of the best things on the site this year, and my top 10 favorite new-to-me films!

The Best of Viv and Larry in 2011

Visiting Tickerage Mill — Sometimes the best things happen when you least expect them. When my friend and fellow Viv and Larry fan Sami and I decided to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to Sussex in search of Vivien Leigh’s country home, we never expected to bump into the owner and be invited inside the gates to snap photos. It was a beautiful house and property with a very peaceful atmosphere. It’s no wonder Vivien loved it.

A Weekend with the Oliviers — I’ve helped plan events before at work, but this was the first time I’d ever planned something entirely on my own. An amazing group of people came to London in May of this year to celebrate Larry and Vivien, and I was so happy it turned out well. Everyone was so nice, and luckily all the plans fell into place!  We did a backstage tour at the Old Vic, saw That Hamilton Woman on the big screen, chatted with Hugo Vickers, and saw a play about Vivien that happened to be attended by Tarquin Olivier. It gave me a real confidence boost to have been able to lead everyone around London for two days. What a bunch of good sports!

Tea at Notley Abbey — A last-minute addition to A Weekend with the Oliviers, our trip to Notley Abbey went from cool to awesome when it started raining and we were invited in for tea! Sipping a hot cup of Earl Grey and eating fresh brownies in Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier’s former sitting room before being allowed to wander about and take photos was the perfect, spontaneous way to spend an afternoon!

Gone with the Wind tribute — This list of ten reasons why Gone with the Wind is still awesome was the top viewed post of 2011!

Interview with author Philip Ziegler — Author Philip Ziegler answered questions about his upcoming biography on Laurence Olivier. I cant wait for this to be published!

Interview with author Ellen F. Brown — Ellen F. Brown, co-author of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood gave us the inside info on the journey of everyones favorite Civil War romance.

Remembering Vivien Leigh — A few of us fans in London left white roses for Vivien Leigh at 54 Eaton Square in honor of what would have been her 98th birthday on 5 November. We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of current resident Luise Rainer!

The Viv and Larry holiday contest — This is currently going on right now! You can win a fab classic film prize pack, so don’t miss out!

Top 10 new-to-me films of 2011

1. Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophuls, 1948) — I’m usually not a big fan of Joan Fontaine but the combination of period drama, angst, Louis Jordan and one of my favorite directors made for very good viewing.

2. The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011) — This film actually opens today so I won’t get to see it before January 1, but I can already tell I’ll love it!

3. Term of Trial (Peter Glenville, 1962) — Laurence Olivier’s underrated and understated performance as a schoolteacher accused of rape by his star pupil is one of the best in his repertoire.

4. Les Enfants du Paradis (Marcel Carne, 1945)Screened at the BFI Film Festival, this centuries-old tale of unrequited love on the busy boulevards of Paris was one tear-jerker not to be missed.

5. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011)It’s no Annie Hall, but I can’t fault Woody Allen for transporting us back to 1920s Paris when Papa Hemingway, Picasso and everyone’s favorite mustachioed surrealist Salvador Dali tore up the town.  Très romantique!

6. L’Historie d’Adele H. (Francois Truffaut, 1975) — Another story of unrequited love and madness, this time set in Nova Scotia. The beautiful Isabelle Adjani plays real-life tragic Adele Hugo to perfection in this film by French master Francois Truffaut.

7. Twentieth Century (Howard Hawks, 1934) — A zany film starring Carole Lombard and John Barrymore, in which Lombard plays the straight character. So funny and rather unexpected!

8. Les Diaboliques (Jaques-Henri Cluzot) — I loved this thriller starring Simone Signoret and Vera Clouzot about a woman who plans to have her husband murdered, and the tables are unexpectedly turned on her.

9. All About My Mother (Pedro Almodovar, 1999) — Definitely one of the best I’ve seen from this living legend. Penelope Cruz has really grown on me recently.

10. Evergreen (Victor Saville, 1934) — My  friend Mark introduced me to this sugary British musical starring Jessie Matthews. I ate it up like candy.


There will be much more coming up here in 2012, so please stick around and thank you so much for all your wonderful support this past year!

Don’t forget you can also find Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier in the following places:

Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier on Facebook Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier on Twitter Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier on Youtube

Kendra has been the weblady at since 2007. She lives in Yorkshire and is the author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, and co-author of Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies (Running Press). Follow her on Twitter @kendrajbean, Instagram at @vivandlarrygram, or at her official website.

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Comments (18)

  1. Eee Evergreen!! I read about that movie in one of my many musicals books, and wanted to see it desperately, but couldn’t find it anywhere! Then Netflix instant got it, but would always get an error. I finally found it on, and loved it! Jesse Matthews is wonderful *___*

    1. Isn’t it a wonderful film? It reminded me very much of a Busby Berkeley musical, but the songs were catchier!! I started reading Jessie’s autobiography ‘Over My Shoulder” when i was in LA over the summer, and I really want to get my own copy so I can finish it!

  2. Great list. I’ve seen all but Evergreen, which I’ve never had an opportunity to watch. Glad you enjoyed it. I’m enjoying reading about your obsession, if you don’t mind me calling it that, with Isabelle. I was quite taken with her after seeing Adele H., as well.

    1. I really liked Evergreen. According to kailey up above, it’s available online. I confess I have a pretty big crush on isabelle, she’s just so fab!

  3. I’m totally jealous of your TM trip. Thank you for sharing your photos with us! Is there any chance you will be selling some of your Notley/Tickerage photos on Etsy?

    I’m dying to see Term of Trial.

  4. Yes, 2011 has been a very , very good year for me too and one of the most cherished moments has been the Weekend with the Oliviers -event-I’m so happy to have shared it with you and all the wonderful people I met. Happy New Year ,Kendra , my best wishes to you and to all VivandLarry fellow fans.

  5. good you saw and appreciated “TERM of TRIAL”, I think he is “marvellously pathetic” as the drab schoolmaster.But Where did you get a chance to see it?I’ve looked again and again to find the DVD, but nothing.Was it in a movietheatre in London?I would be willing to pay a lot of money to get the film…Now we shall go onto a bridge here in Cologne to view the “Sylvester fireworks”. Wish you all the best.PROST NEUJAHR:Renata

  6. Thank you Kendra for your thoughtful and lovely year end wrap-up – you’ve brought us so much to pore over throughout the entire year. I am housebound a lot and your blog and FB posts bring me such joy and stimulation, and I learn something new every time I read any of them! I’ve been a lover of classic films since a child but I never got as interested in the details until I found your page and blog! Merci beaucoup !!!
    You have accomplished a great deal in 2011, and big things lie ahead for you. 🙂 Of this, I am certain.
    2012 is going to be an exciting year for us all!!!

    1. Thanks Rebecca! I’m glad the site has proven interesting and useful to people. I love interacting with other classic film fans! I’m sure 2012 will be a great year for you, as well. Enjoy the sun in CA!

  7. Thanks for a great year Kendra! I stumbled across a newsletter called “The Scarlett Letter”.
    One item of note: “Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel” will be shown by PBS nationally as part of the American Masters series in April 2012. Something to look forward to for 2012!
    Happy New Year and thanks again for a wonderful blog!

  8. You seem to have had a great year, Kendra -one filled great adventures as well as great films. I hope 2012 brings you more of the same.

    I’m thrilled you’ve seen LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN WOMEN, LES ENFANTS DU PARADIS and LES DIABOLIQUES and included them on your “Top Ten” new-to-you film list. All are favorites of mine. New to me this year, and recently, was MIDNIGHT IN PARIS – adored it. And I much admire Woody Allen who, recently turned 76 yrs of age, is still able to create real magic onscreen.

    By the way, TCM will be featuring the films Max Ophuls made in the U.S. on January 23.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks, Eve! Midnight in Paris was really enjoyable, and I usually can’t stand Owen Wilson (except in Zoolander). It was such a nice, light-hearted film!

      I hope you’re able to write about the Ophuls films on your blog. I don’t get TCM over here, unfortunately!

      Happy 2012!

  9. I don’t keep up with your site like I should, but every time I drop in, I’m seriously impressed by it (and by your productivity!). A very belated congratulations on finishing grad school and doing so well! Good luck with your book… I’ve no doubt you’ll be published some day. 🙂

    Great film list, btw. Midnight in Paris was one of my favorites from last year as well. Such a feel good movie, without hitting people over the head with sentiment.

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