Monday, October 5, 2009

Great Lady of the Theatre

This morning's rather unfortunate photo of the great Vivien Leigh left me, believe it or not, feeling vaguely guilty all day. Therefore, here we see her in full fig, painted within an inch of her life and ready for one of her later stage triumphs, just so we can be reminded what an extraordinary creature she was.

I actually like La Leigh better in her last few decades, when her perfect prettiness (which was never really quite monumental enough for beauty in the Garbo sense) deepened into something bitterweet - a combination, perhaps, of something sharp and observing in her expression and the physical effects of smoking and the not-so-occasional drop.

It's why I feel she was never more interesting than in her final films, which are cruel about her but over which she triumphs with a kind of greatness of dignity that not even being paired with a very faux-Italian Warren Beatty or mauled by Lee Marvin can mar...

1 comment:

  1. I had a nice conversation with Margery (Gray) Harnick once about her co-starring with Ms. Leigh in the 1963 musical Tovarich on Broadway. It was 45 years later, and Margery spoke so lovingly of Leigh's kindness and warmth and even teared up as she spoke.

    Leigh, while far from a legit singer, sings with gusto and heart. Tovarich is a charming little show and it won Leigh a Best Actress Tony. And it's worth checking out her Charleston number with male juvenile lead Byron Mitchell