Tag: laurence olivier

the oliviers

Celebrating love

Vivien Leigh Laurence Olivier in 21 Days Together

(via Zsazsa)

“My dearest Heart,

Goodness knows when all my various letters will reach you or in what order…I will tell you again that your letters are unspeakably precious…Okay darling darling love. I will never get used to these separations. I miss you every minute of the time…” — Fragments of a love letter from Vivien Leigh to Laurence Olivier, 1943

Happy Valentine’s Day from vivandlarry.com!


cinema experiences

Cinema Experiences: Hamlet

The Ritzy theatre, Brixton

Its been a long while since I’ve done a post in the Cinema Experiences feature! I have actually seen a few classic films on the big screen since my last post about Gone with the Wind at the Prince Charles in Soho, but just didn’t have time to write about them. Fast forward to yesterday evening. The Ritzy cinema in Brixton is currently doing a series called the “A to Z of Cinema.” Today happened to be “O for Olivier” so my friend Chris and I went down to watch the Oscar-winning Hamlet (1948). And it was a celluloid print that made for some scratchy old-school viewing. I loved it.

Hamlet has long been my favorite of Laurence Olivier’s Shakespeare trilogy, and one of my favorite from his filmography as a whole. And I’m not just saying that because it condenses a 4 hour play into little more than 2.5 hours (although I have to admit that does help). No. I’m saying it because it feels more cinematic than Henry V or Richard III. There’s an artistry that is not present in the other two films, and indeed, this is what Olivier was striving for when he chose to collaborate with Alan Dent to adapt Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy for the screen.

With Henry V, Olivier wanted to bring theatre and cinema close together. He did so obviously by bookending the live-action with scenes set on the Elizabethan stage. In contrast, Hamlet is purely cinematic. Soliloquies are done by a mixture of speaking out loud and voice over, the later of which wouldn’t work in the live theatre. Although most of the story takes place inside a Elsinor Castle, the use of deep focus photography lets us know that what we are watching is “real”. However, what seems to really interest Olivier, and the theme around which all aspects of the film revolve, is Hamlet’s psychology. This is evidenced by the  bare sets, moody black and white photography, and the loud, throbbing heart beat noises whenever Hamlet starts to go a bit off the rails.

Chris knows of my fondness for Larry and asked what it was about him as an actor that I liked best. I thought for a split second before answering. The thing I like most about Laurence Olivier as an actor is his voice. I love listening to him recite Shakespeare (okay, I’d listen to him recite the phone book but that’s beside the point) because he speaks the lines so naturally and you can just tell he actually understands the nuances and phraseology. It’s rather poetic and beautiful.

But back to the actual cinema experience. Sitting in possibly the most comfortable seats ever in one of the oldest picturehouses in London with a box of salty and sweet popcorn whilst a very handsome, blonde-haired Laurence Olivier rattles off Olde English as if it’s modern language? Priceless.

photography the oliviers travel

Return to Notley Abbey

31 Days of the Oliviers {Day 7}

I mentioned in a previous post my friend Zsazsa’s visit from Hungary. Because she had missed the Weekend with the Oliviers back in May, we decided to take a trip out to Notley Abbey. I admit I was a bit nervous about doing so, for fear there would possibly be a wedding on. I needn’t have worried. All was quiet save for a few couples driving up to view it as a possible wedding location. The day was windy and overcast, but Autumn was definitely definitely set in, turning Larry’s Lime Walk to a brilliant yellow and brown. The various trees around the house were splashed with fiery reds and oranges.

I’ve already written about my experiences at Notley, so I asked Zsazsa if she’d like to write about her own, and will post her account later. For now, she’s given me permission to post some of the photos she took. As you may already know, Zsazsa is a brilliant photographer, and she perfectly captured the aura of romance and history that surrounds Vivien Leigh’s and Laurence Olivier’s former country estate.

See more of her work here.

Photos in this post © Zsazsa Ribai.
Continue reading

articles laurence olivier vivien leigh

Laurence Olivier: Young Man with a Future

31 days of Vivien Leigh and Laurence OlivierI have a bunch of magazine and newspaper articles left over from my dissertation research, so I’ve decided to do “31 Days of the Oliviers.” Each day I will post a new article or blog post, ending with Vivien Leigh’s birthday on November 5. These articles (most of which have Vivien as the main subject) span the years 1937-1967 and come from both American and British sources. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do!

{Day 6} Laurence Olivier’s return to Hollywood after a six year absence was greeted with enthusiasm by the American press. In their eyes, he was already an established, top actor, and was written about with respect. In this article from Stage magazine, author Katharine Best waxes poetic about Larry’s long road to fame, Wuthering Heights and No Time for Comedy.

Laurence Olivier: Young Man with a Future

by Katharine Best
Stage, March 15, 1939
Submitted to vivandlarry.com by Chris