Published on November 20, 2013 | by Karma Symington


Remembering Vivien Leigh at the BFI

Poster artwork for the 1937 film Storm in a Teacup, starring Vivien Leigh


Nearly 50 years after her death, Vivien Leigh still manages to fascinate audiences.

Her beauty and acting ability has gained her with a true Hollywood star title.

This autumn, cultural institutions across London are shining their spotlights on the British actress.

From a photography exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery to the high-profile attainment of her papers by the Victoria and Albert Museum, Vivien Leigh continues to dominate the world of film after her death.

Since November 6, the BFI has been paying tribute to the star by showcasing many of her films, from her early work to becoming a two-time Academy Award winner.

I set out to watch one of Leigh’s lesser-known films at the BFI, Storm in a Teacup.

Directed by Ian Dalrymple, the comedy is based on a German play and set in an old-fashioned Scottish town.

The film stars Rex Harrison as Frank Burdon, an English newspaper reporter who has travelled north for his job.

Upon arrival he meets the beautiful and wealthy Vickie Gow (Leigh) and throughout the course of the film the two fall in love.

In typical Romeo and Juliet style, their love is met with adversary.

Leigh’s father is the provost of the town who orders that a dog be put down as his owner cannot afford to keep him; Harrison then draws attention to the story by publishing it in the national newspaper.

Whimsical and funny, with undercurrents of Nazi Germany in the form of the provost, I feel this film deserves to be better known than it is.

Rhett Butler may have said that “with enough courage, you can do without a reputation”, but it was the character of Scarlett O’Hara who proved there is always a silver lining.

Determined, calculating and shrewd, the character made Vivien a household name after starring alongside Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind; she has cast a spell over audiences for years and will continue to do so.

Frankly, my dear, I do give a damn!

The BFI Season runs until the November 30, and prices range from £8.50 to £12.10. Viewings include A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Gone With the Wind (1939) and Anna Karenina (1948). 


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