Tag: hugo vickers

cinema archive documentaries vivien leigh

Vivien Leigh: Made in Japan

Vivien Leigh japanese Documentary

A couple of years ago, I did a contest on this site during which I gave away a couple copies of a recently released Japanese documentary about Vivien Leigh. I’m still not sure exactly what it’s called, but according to my Japanese-British friend, it’s something like, “Vivien Leigh: Young Heroine that Loved Eternally.” I call it “The Japanese Vivien Leigh Documentary.”

Made by Basara Ltd. in 2010 as part of a series of TV documentaries that focused on classic film stars that are still big in Japan, “The Japanese Vivien Leigh Documentary” takes a unique approach to telling Vivien’s story. Rather than just replaying Vivien Leigh’s life through photos and video footage, it follows her great-granddaughter, Sophie Farrington, on a journey of discovery. Sophie travelled to London and Hollywood (and to Notley Abbey and Tickerage Mill) to interview those who are still alive who knew Vivien, and in the process learned more about her famous relative.

Like any documentary, there are good and bad things about this one.

The Good:

  • It’s really interesting to see members of Vivien’s family today, especially considering how private they’ve always been.
  • There are people interviewed here that I’d never seen in previous documentaries.
  • Hearing audio clips of Jack Merivale speaking about Vivien Leigh in an interview with Hugo Vickers.
  • I got to help as a photo consultant. Many of the photos used as filler came from my personal collection.

The Bad:

  • The editing is very, very sloppy. You’ll notice things like people being cut off mid-sentence, the English translator whispering in the background, cameramen not ducking out of the shots in time.
  • Random historical re-enactments.
  • They interviewed Sophie having dinner at the Olive Garden. Okay, maybe that should be in the “good” section.
  • Sparkly purple text.
  • No English subtitles, including names of people being interviewed.

People featured include Hugo Vickers, Trader Faulkner, Tarquin Olivier, Ann Rutherford, Daniel Selznick, Sally Hardy (Jack Merivale’s step-sister), Louise Olivier, Rupert Farrington and Amy Farrington.

This documentary has a running time of 90 minutes. It has been uploaded exclusively for readers here at vivandlarry.com and cannot be found on DVD.

Enjoy!

guest post

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 vivandlarry.com. Thanks, Hugo!

Continue reading