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Waterloo Bridge (1940), Vivien Leigh

The first movie that Vivien Leigh made after “Gone With The Wind”, and apparently her personal favourite, “Waterloo Bridge” is a remake after the version from 1931, with Mae Clarke. Vivien’s role as an ingénue ballerina who turns into a prostitute is extremely sensitive and delicate owing to her masterful performance. In addition to this, Vivien was a unique beauty, who could mesmerize the audiences – and still does! Her partner in this production, directed by the gifted Mervyn LeRoy, is the handsome Robert Taylor, who has an excellent chemistry with Vivien, despite that initially she wanted her future husband, Laurence Olivier, to play the leading role. The story develops during WWI and WWII, but the film itself consists mostly of flashback scenes which reveal the tragic love story between the young dancing girl, Myra Lester, and her fiancé, a young officer, Roy Cronin, who comes from a prosperous family. Their happiness is shaded by the difficulties of the Great War, and the ending is somehow unexpected. I would also like to remind here the poignant performances of Lucile Watson as Roy’s mother, and of Virginia Field in the role of Kitty, Myra’s best friend. The lines are very good (such as Roy’s line while looking for Myra, “I will always look for her, but never find her” or Myra’s line in her last scene with Roy, “Every parting from you is like a little eternity”), and you will be haunted by the wonderful interpretation of the Auld Lang Syne song. Vivien Leigh’s last scene is one of the greatest and most impressive moments in her entire career. The emotions are so deep and the fear is so intense that you might tremble a little while watching her definitive departure, leaving behind only her good luck charm. Vivien put her heart and soul on this role and she certainly deserved at least an Oscar nomination. “Waterloo Bridge” was nominated for two Oscars, for Best Cinematography and Best Music, and it stands among the greatest accomplishments of Vivien Leigh as an actress, and among the best films of the 1940s. I highly recommend you to watch it, because it will be a memorable experience. In fact, watching Vivien Leigh is always a memorable, thrilling experience, because she was a real lady of the Silver Screen.

Waterloo Bridge (1940), Vivien Leigh, Robert Taylor