A Vivien Leigh season runs at BFI Southbank throughout November 2013.
Gone with the Wind is rereleased nationwide on 22 November.
Vivien Leigh belongs to that moment in cinema when capturing the human face still plunged the audience into ecstasy, when one lost oneself in the photographed image. Sometimes she would look at the camera with her luminous green eyes and raise her right eyebrow, a sign of allure and beauty that became her trademark.
At first, the Vivien Leigh ‘look’ was captured more by studio portrait photographers than by film directors. London photographer Vivienne (Florence Entwistle) said of Leigh: “She is an artist photographer’s dream and fairest of the fair. Analyze her features – the proportion, the relationship of one and another, the harmony, the line. It is hard to fault them.”
Although many other London-based photographers, including Fred Daniels and Angus McBean, all strove to capture her beauty in light and shade, it’s pictures of Leigh dressed in flowing gowns or in an off-shoulder frock – shot during her glamorous period at MGM, around the time of Gone with the Wind (1939) and Waterloo Bridge (1940) – that remain the most bewitching.