Saturday, November 30, 2013

Vivien Leigh: Life on Screen

From The Guardian:
Three years later, she would up her game once more by playing Blanche DuBois in Elia Kazan's version of A Streetcar Named Desire. It is simply one of the greatest pieces of acting in any American film; no Oscar was ever more deserved. Leigh had lived to unite in one career the acting styles of two distinct worlds – moving from dinner-jacketed Rex Harrison suavely proffering his cigarette-case all the way to Marlon Brando bellowing in a ripped T-shirt. She had passed from urbane theatricality to passion and "the authentic". (Olivier would have to wait years before following her by playing Archie Rice in John Osborne's The Entertainer.) There can hardly have been two such different southern belles as Leigh's two Oscar-winning performances as Scarlett O'Hara and Blanche DuBois; not least in the fact that, as Leigh herself pointed out, where one survives, the other goes under. With Blanche, Leigh finds a space for insecurity, for her elusive sense of failure. She seemed to be putting her disintegration on screen; Leigh is felt to suffer as Blanche suffers. To play with her persona, with her talent, was a high‑risk activity but also a sign of things to come. (Read more.)

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