best film: Gone With the Wind. This is a strength for Leigh- no doubt. Gone With the Wind is a masterpiece and a top 100 all-time film.  Streetcar Named Desire is a very solid film and great #2 (her problem here is depth- not top films) but this one still isn’t that close.

best performance:  Gone With the Wind. Not only is Gone With the Wind a masterpiece but Leigh is marvelous in it.  How many actresses get to deliver a line like her “As God as my witness…” line at the end of Act 1 in a masterpiece? I think she gets looked over historically in this film (along with Streetcar actually) because she’s dueling with Gable (and Brando) but she’s the film’s narrative vehicle and those who haven’t seen it in a while will forget how much MORE of the film she’s in than Gable. Her character is supposed to grate on you (just like Streetcar) and it’s not one to love. The bottom line is here is she’s brilliant, as lead, in a masterpiece.

stylistic innovations/traits: Two main things here: 1. She played, in her two big roles, very unlikeable characters  you sort of drive you nuts for the entire running time of the film until you either want to hit her (like Brando sort of does) or tell her to go to hell (like Gable does). This is her purpose and she’s supposed to be discordant- this should be a reason you applaud her performance—not decry it. 2. In her career, (archiveable films spanning from 1938-1965) she only had 20 IMDB credits. She did a lot of theater work and simply isn’t in that many films. She’s fine in films 3-6 here below, even very good, but never transcendent again after her top two films and there’s not much depth

directors worked with: Nobody more than once and besides the work with Victor Fleming in Gone With the Wild and Kazan in Streecar we don’t have a top auteur here.

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Gone With the Wind
  2. A Streetcar Named Desire
  3. That Hamilton Woman
  4. Waterloo Bridge
  5. Sidewalks of London

Archiveable films

1938- Sidewalks of London
1939- Gone With The Wind
1940- Waterloo Bridge
1941- That Hamilton Woman
1951- A Streetcar Named Desire
1965- Ship of Fools