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screencapture from the film

Vivien-Leigh.com is announcing a Enter for Your Chance to Win Contest! V-L.com will be giving away 3 DVD copies of The Deep Blue Sea! Released in 1955, the film stars Vivien Leigh and Kenneth More. This color film was never released on VHS or DVD but played on American television a couple decades ago. I have in my possession a recording of that TV version so it borders on poor quality, but I have it nonetheless. The Deep Blue Sea is about Hester (Vivien Leigh) “the troubled wife of a London attorney (Emlyn Williams). Racked with emotional problems, Leigh turns her back on her loveless marriage and sets up house with a handsome RAF officer (Kenneth More). When her lover proves to be shallow and unreliable, Leigh attempts to kill herself ” (quoted text taken from Fandango.com).

To enter the contest, please answer the question below. One winner will be chosen at random from the correct submissions. This contest is only open to those living in the USA and Canada (sorry, the DVDs will only work in DVD players from this region). To enter for your chance to win, click on the email link below and send your answer in the email. Please put “Deep Blue Sea” in the subject line.  The contest ends March 31st! Good Luck, everyone!

QUESTION: The film The Deep Blue Sea is adapted from the play of what playwright? Hint: Answer can be found on Vivien-Leigh.com

ANSWER: Send your answer to webmaster @ vivien-leigh.com or CLICK HERE.


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Discussion topic for January 2010:

What film hooked you to Vivien Leigh? If not GWTW what  was it? What did you think when you saw her in another film?

Vivien as Scarlett

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Here’s another new article for VIVIEN-LEIGH.COM. I hope Vivien found some sort of paradise during her lifetime.

Noted actress Vivien Leigh wants to find ‘an island paradise’

Written By: Unknown

Published In: Herald (Melbourne, Australia) on July 3, 1961

Vivien enjoying the Gold Coast

She’s combing the Pacific- on paper at the moment- for an island where she can relax.

She’s even prepared to “go native” to get her perfect holiday and live in a hut.

She said today: “I don’t care how isolated the island is. I’ll get there somehow.”

But it must be off the tourist routes, be good for swimming and it must have a sandy beach, not coral.

IN GARDEN

Eight weeks ago she bought a ‘Queen Anne’ house in Sussex with its own mill stream, lake and river, and a whole hillside of daffodils.

At week ends she leaves her theatre life to work in the country garden.

During the next size months she’ll have two 10 day breaks and will spend each away from the cities- one at the Barrier Reef and the other “out of Perth.”

Melbourne people will see her in three totally different roles- as the wicked woman in “Duel of Angels,” the tragic Marguerite in “The Lady of the Camellias,” and Viola in “Twelfth Night.”

The first general rehearsal will be on Wednesday.

The rest of the 37-strong company will arrive late today.

Here are the details of the company’s Melbourne season:

July 12-22: “Duel of Angels”

July 25-August 5: “Twelfth Night”

August 8-26: “Lady of the Camellias”

The company will tour Brisbane, Sydney, Adelside and Perth later. It is due to open in New Zealand January 24, 1962.

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I’ve added a new article to the Vivien Leigh Article Database- here’s a sneak peek! I found it interesting that she said Cleopatra was her favorite role. She talks about Scarlett, the critics, and the best compliment she’s ever received.

Written by: Alan Dent

Appeared in the Sunday Telegraph, July 9, 1961

The dismantled music hall would have been a somewhat depressing ambiance if it had not been for the presence of Vivien Leigh in a white crinoline, reclining in a yellow armchair.

She was talking to me between scenes of Dumas’s “The Lady of the Camellias,”  being rehearsed at the Finsbury Park Empire before leaving for Australia to begin a two-year tour with a specially chosen Old Vic company. This opens on Wednesday with “Duel of Angels.”

“Let me babble.” she said  babbled delectably of what might almost be described as the grandest tour ever. The first part takes in the Antipodes and the far East, Tokyo, Manila, Bombay, Bangkok. Then, after a rest at home, in 1962, “we begin the second half of the world tour starting in Paris where we have been invited to play in Jean-LouisBarrault’s theatre. Furthermore when I introduced myself to Madam Furtszeva the other day she said she would be delighted if we went to Russia, and I hope that will be arranged. From there onwards the tour is planned to take in South and North America.

“The idea of this tour was mine originally,” she said “I suggested  it to Bobby Helpmann, who suggested it to the Old Vic which could hardly agree more.  About half of the company are Old Vic players.”

Besides the Dumas, the touring repertoire  will include “Twelfth Night” and Giraudoux “Duel of Angels.”

The success of the latter, a “difficult” play, did not surprised her as much as it has surprised some other people.

” The first time I read it- there are only two new plays I have ever read which have kept me awake- one was ‘The Skin of Our Teeth’ by Thornton Wilder and the other was ‘Duel of Angels.’ I remember telephoningBinkie Beaumont the next morning and saying ‘I want to do it. I don’t mind which part I play. I just think it is the most wonderful play.”

To continue reading this article, please visit the Vivien Leigh Article Database, or CLICK HERE.

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I just received in the mail today an early Christmas gift (to myself) –and it’s simply adorable. It’s a miniature book titled Two Letters, by Vivien Leigh. Apparently it was privately published in 1985 and only 300 copies were printed. The book contains the content of two letters written by Vivien Leigh- one to George Cukor and one to Clark Gable’s wife– followed by an Appreciation by Charles H. Williamson. I’d love to know the story behind this little book… it seems rather peculiar. If you’d like to snag this collector’s piece, check out Abebooks.com. They have 3 available for purchase. I’d like to share with you this latest addition to my collection.

truly a mini book

title page

The first letter, to George Cukor, reads:

Dear Mr. Cukor,

I, in fact all of us, found your wonderful direction such a great help in our work; & we have found ourselves unable to give our full attention, as it was in your case, to any director since.

Yours

Vivien Leigh

The second letter is written to Kay Williams, Gable’s 5th wife.

the 2nd letter

The Appreciation by Charles H. Williamson reads:

Vivien Leigh was born Vivian Mary Hartley in Darjeeling, India on November 5, 1913, the daughter of Gertrude and Earnest Hartley. Shortly before her seventh birthday she was taken to England and enrolled in Roehampton’s Convent of the Sacred Heart. Later, she entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, but her marriage at the age of eighteen to Leigh Holman, a lawyer, and the birth of their daughter, Suzanne, in 1935, caused her to drop out of that famed school.

In 1934, however, she began to act professionally and within a year had delighted London with a display of her beauty and talent in Ashley Duke’s costume drama, “The Mask of Virtue.” Signed to a five year contract by Alexander Korda, she made several films in England–among them, “Fire Over England”, in which she played opposite Laurence Olivier, who was also married. They fell in love, and in 1938 she visited him in Hollywood where he was making “Wuthering Heights.” At that time the much publicized search for an actress to play Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s best selling novel, “Gone with the Wind”, had been going on for over a year. The film’s producer, David O. Selznick, has yielded to the public demand that Clark Gable play Rhett Butler. To obtain Gable, Selznick was forced to give Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which had him under contract, exclusive distribution rights and half-share of the film’s profits.

In December, with Scarlett still uncast, production commenced on the film under George Cukor’s direction. It was on the night that the burning of Atlanta was being shot that Myron Selznick, Olivier’s agent and David’s brother, brought his client and the visiting Vivien to the Selznick studios in Culver City to witness the spectacular event. During a break Selznick and Cukor came over to the three visitors and Myron Selznick said, half-jokingly, “David, I’d like you to meet Scarlett O’Hara.” Selznick, taken by the young girl’s beauty, suggested that Cukor test her. The race had narrowed down to three actresses–Jean Arthur, Paulette Goddard, and Joan Bennett, but once Selznick and Cukor saw Leigh in two test scenes, there was no doubt in their minds that she was their Scarlett.

There was an immediate rapport between Leigh and Cukor, a mutual admiration and affection that deepened and lasted until the actress’ death on July 7, 1967. When the director was removed from the film and replaced by one of Gable’s favorites, Victor Fleming, Leigh was bereft. She pleaded with Selznick to keep Cukor but he refused. She always maintained that the inital confidence Cukor gave her helped her throughout the shooting of the entire picture. Also, unknown to Selznick and Fleming, she visited Cukor’s home every Sunday during shooting and he coached her for the forthcoming week’s work.

“Gone with the Wind” was the only film Vivien Leigh made with Clark Gable. Although they had a satisfactory working relationship, she never became a close friend, preferring instead, along with Olivier, the company of George Cukor and the distinguished group with which he always surrounded himself.

When “Gone with the Wind” opened in Atlanta on December 15, 1939, and soon thereafter in New York, the relatively unknown English girl united the North and the South in approval of her performance. For her portrayal of Scarlett, Hollywood awarded her the first Academy Award of her career, while Gable, although nominated for best actor, lost to Englishman Robert Donat for his performance in “Goodbye, Mr. Chips.”

Although Leigh never met Kay Gable, it is interesting to note that it was her old friend and mentor, George Cukor, who gave the future Mrs. Gable, then known as Kay Williams, her first important film role- Hazel Dawn in the screen adaptation of Ruth Gordon’s play, “Years Ago”, released by Metro in 1953 as “The Actress.” Although in a small part, the beautiful young woman made a striking impression.

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Discussion Topic for December: Has anyone ever visited 54 Eaton Square in London? What was your experience?

the door of 54 Eaton Square

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On Friday morning I check out of the Georgian Terrace, braved Atlanta traffic and headed north to Marietta, GA. The festivities for “70 Years of Gone with the Wind: A Re-Premiere” began at 9:30am at the newly-restored Earl Smith Strand theater. As soon as I walked into the theater, I immediately recognized people from my 2007 trip to Atlanta for the Rhett Butler’s People book launch. I was quickly introduced to others that I’ve met online through my website and The Golden Age of Hollywood forums. Carolyn of DearMrGable.com, Kendra of VivandLarry.com, and Kendra’s friends from Poland were also in the lobby. It was wonderful to meet so many Vivien Leigh fans in one place at one time!

The Q&A was held at the newly restored Strand Theater

the castmates at the Q&A

First up was a Q&A session with visiting authors Herb Bridges (The Filming of ‘Gone with the Wind‘), Molly Haskell (Frankly, My Dear: ‘Gone with the Wind’ Revisited), Sally Rains (The Making of a Masterpiece: The True Story of Margaret Mitchell’s Classic Novel ‘Gone with the Wind’), Michael Scragow (Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master), Kathy Witt (The Secret of the Belles) and Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne (80 Years of the Oscar). Then the castmates were brought out on stage: Greg Geise (baby Bonnie, baby Beau), Patrick Curtis (Toddler Beau), Mickey Kuhn (Beau), Geneva Miller Roberts (an extra during the BBQ scene), and Ann Rutherford (Carreen O’Hara). Cammie King Conlon (Bonnie) and Mary Anderson (Maybelle Meriwether) canceled at the last minute due to illness.

(more…)

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