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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Movie Review: "Waterloo Bridge" (1940)

I am on a bit of a Vivien Leigh high at the moment, probably because I just finished Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind and while reading all 950 pages I could not help but constantly think of Vivien, and became even further convinced (as if I needed anymore convincing) that no other actress on the planet could have played Scarlett O'Hara.

I mean, it's not like she didn't know that already.
Oh well any excuse to post flawless Vivien GIFs. Anyways, here's my Waterloo Bridge (1940) review for you.


WATERLOO BRIDGE (1940): Cast, plot details
On the eve of World War II, a British officer, Roy, revisits Waterloo Bridge and recalls the young man he was at the beginning of World War I and the young ballerina named Myra he met just before he left for the front. Myra stayed with him past curfew and is thrown out of the corps de ballet to survive on the streets of London - but her undying love for Roy keeps her spirits high. Then, a misunderstanding jeopardizes everything. [from IMdb - with slight doctoring by me]
  • Vivien Leigh as Myra 
  • Robert Taylor as Ray Cronin
  • Virginia Field as Kitty, Myra's best friend

THE VERDICT: ★★★ 1/2 

Bittersweet romance with a convincing chemistry between the two leads - a beautiful movie, give it a watch.

I'm really late on seeing this movie, aren't I? Especially being a Vivien Leigh fan and all. But this is a movie that is sadly not for rent on Netflix, and it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I stumbled upon it on Youtube. Anyways, I'm really happy I did. I'll tell you straight off, I really enjoyed this movie, if you can't tell already.

The plot is a little old fashioned and I supposed it isn't one that ages all that well. I can't say much more without giving away the plot, but for those who have seen the film will understand. But anyways, all the while, I enjoyed the plot very much. The chemistry between Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor very believable, and I enjoyed the spontaneity of their relationship a whole lot. 

Vivien Leigh was simply marvelous in this, as she always is. I absolutely loved her character throughout the whole movie and felt entire sympathy for her no matter what she chose to do. Of course, it broke my heart just a bit to see the innocent ballerina transform into a woman torn by guilt and the realities of war. But Vivien played her to perfection, oh, just as wonderfully as she had played Scarlett O'Hara two years earlier, and I can barely think of any flaws in her performance. She's such a wonderful, wonderful actress, and of course, totally gorgeous too (like you didn't already know that). She photographs particularly beautifully in this movie. This was a very fragile character, but Vivien's performance made me empathize with her through and through.

Then there is Robert Taylor, who I have barely seen in anything. But I must say, he really won me over with this movie. His love for Vivien was convincingly palpable and though it would be hard to keep up with Vivien's stunning performance in this, he does very well, perhaps not equalizing her (because, it is very much her film) but still giving a very great performance. While watching, you feel his sorrow as much as you feel hers.

Dance, Girl, Dance (1940) is a movie from the same year starring Lucy, and two actresses from that movie I also found in here: Virginia Field and Maria Ouspenskaya. I actually can't remember what Virginia Field was doing in Dance, Girl, Dance (1940) but anyways, I liked her a lot here as Myra's resilient best friend, who takes to the streets of London with her when she gets kicked out of the troupe defending her. And Ouspenskaya who was notorious for playing madams of all sorts (in Dance, Girl, Dance a burlesque madam and in this one an uppity, Russian madam of a ballet troupe), was terribly annoying to bits and pieces in this, I just wanted to slap her across the face - but that is what the role was supposed to be like, anyways.

The bottom line is: I really, really enjoyed this movie and the performances within it. I want to check out the pre-code 1931 version of it as well, and if you haven't seen this one yet, I really encourage you to do so. Don't deprive yourself for as long as I did and watch it.


  • This was the personal favorite film of both Vivien Leigh & Robert Taylor
  • One of the earliest Hollywood films to include World War II in its plot, as the US had not yet entered the war and Poland had been invaded only a few months before the film's premiere. 


You should really go watch it, though, and you can do so here. As for now I'll leave you with the most gorgeous scene in the movie that should win your heart over. Just saying. 


I know I wasn't around last week, but hey, forgive me, I've been reading Gone With the Wind! I have a few posts already written up for this week, though, so I don't think my promises thin and frivolous, dear readers, they haven't been in vain.

ALSO! All bloggers - we have had a wonderful response for our "Great Recasting Blogathon," but we're always looking for more, so if you haven't signed up already, you can check out the details here. Remember, you don't have to choose the film now. (I haven't even decided yet, and I'm co-hosting this thing!) And don't forget to grab a banner for your sidebar to get the word out. Thanks to those who have already joined us! :)


Kate Gorman said...

I am a big fan of this film as well. It's one of my favourites. I love Vivien and Robert in this film, they are both brilliant! It’s lovely and touching, but there’s a lot of sadness in this movie too.

I highly recommend this film. :) xx

Lasso The Movies said...

I am a little bit ashamed to admit that I haven't seen very many Vivian Leigh movies, but I am going to change that soon. Thanks for giving me a good place to start.

LĂȘ said...

I'm not a big fan of sad melodramas, but this is a very fine movie. I know people who cried a lot watching this, but I kept thinking how much it lokks like Anna Karenina. I've even written about it here, if you want to read:
Anyway, this is a great review. And I have yet to watch the 1931 version - I love to compare remakes!

Lesya Hearst said...

I saw Waterloo Bridge a few years ago and I loved it because of Vivien, who was marvelous indeed. I love how she deals with such heartbreaking roles.

And referring to the beginning of your post, I also believe that no-one could play Scarlett like Leigh did, no-one. Have you seen archive videos of auditions for the part? The close one was Paulette Goddard's portrayal, but even she was not a perfect Scarlett O'Hara.

Rianna said...

Yes, this was a beautiful movie, albeit the idea that Vivien's character, as a free woman, must "repent" for her behavior would definitely be ridiculed by today's society. I guess it didn't sit all that well with me either but this film was too fantastic otherwise for me to real care all that much ;) Such a great film!

Rianna said...

Hope you can see more of her & enjoy her movies. She was a brilliant actress.

Rianna said...

I haven't checked out Anna Karenina yet (want to, though - might force myself to read the book first ;D), but great post! I really want to see the 1931 one as well. I found it for rent so I can't wait to see it now. :)

Rianna said...

Vivien was indeed marvelous in melodramatic roles. She was one of the best at it.

I agree with you wholeheartedly. There were two roles that Vivien Leigh was born to play, and Scarlett is one, the other being Blanche Du Bois. She was perfect. She fits Margaret Mitchell's description of the character by the book, (though the first line of the novel is "Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful," but you get the feeling that that was just an attention getting opening line & not the honest truth). I've seen some of the other auditions. Paulette was good, she's a nice actress, but in my opinion she was a little too cutesy for the role. Jean Arthur was an interesting choice, but as much as I love her I couldn't see Scarlett being her type of a role. Vivien was just the perfect pick. In fact, I wouldn't debate the whole casting of that film at all (Olivia and Clark were just as spot on) save the casting of Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes. That was a major flaw, lol.

Unknown said...

Agree about Ashley Wilkes

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