Vivien Leigh: a photographer’s dream

Remember the Vivien Leigh ‘look’ with our collection of stills and portraits of the glamorous film legend.

Nigel Arthur
Updated:

Look up and Laugh (1935)

Look up and Laugh (1935)

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.

Fire over England (1937)

Fire over England (1937)

Dark Journey (1937)

Dark Journey (1937)

A Yank at Oxford (1937)

A Yank at Oxford (1937)

St. Martin's Lane WC2 (1938)

St. Martin's Lane WC2 (1938)

21 Days (1939)

21 Days (1939)

Gone with the Wind (1939)

Gone with the Wind (1939)

Caesar and Cleopatra (1945)

Caesar and Cleopatra (1945)

Anna Karenina (1948)

Anna Karenina (1948)

The Deep Blue Sea (1955)

The Deep Blue Sea (1955)

Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier

Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier

Further reading

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