What Happened to Vivien Leigh?

     Picture the young and vibrant Scarlett O'Hara running down the stairs of Tara to meet her father. She is beautiful, innocent, and intelligent. Even when the Yankees are trying to take her beloved Tara away from her, she improvises. She pulls the curtains off the windows and makes herself a new dress. She is ready to sell her soul to the devil himself, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable).

     Now picture Blanche DuBois. She is desperately trying to hide the wrinkles that her hard life has dealt her. Beautiful?-- I do not think so--innocent?--not for some time now. Intelligent?--a smart woman would not have lived the way she had. She probably would sell her soul to the devil, though. Would he appear in the image of Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando)?--more than likely.

     Is it just I, or does Vivien Leigh seem to have been typecast in the roles of spoiled rotten Southern Belles? But does not she do a delicious job? Whether it be the young and beautiful or the old and worn down, she is the epitome of a Southern lady. One has to wonder however, how she got so old. Scarlett O'Hara was supposed to be young forever. Hence, Vivien Leigh was not supposed to age. Now look at Blanche DuBois; was she ever young? I think she was born with platinum hair and wrinkles.

     Who would have ever thought Scarlett O'Hara could play an insane person? I am sorry for Vivien Leigh. I have a hard time seeing her as anything but Scarlett. Honestly, I did not even know she was in any other movies. (Back to my point) Blanche was completely off her rocker, and Vivien Leigh portrayed this perfectly. She even had that insane look in her eyes. Perhaps, this is the case because Vivien Leigh herself had a mental disorder. What could be a better study for a part than one's own personal experience?

     All in all, Vivien Leigh plays the Southern belle perfectly. And, after viewing A Streetcar Named Desire, I think she also does an excellent job of playing an insane person. She definitely uses all her own experiences and throws them into her roles in movies.

Shannon Powers

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