On the sidewalks of the London theater district the buskers (street performers) earn enough coins for a cheap room. Charles, who recites dramatic monologues, sees that a young pickpocket, ... See full summary »
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William K. Howard
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On the sidewalks of the London theater district the buskers (street performers) earn enough coins for a cheap room. Charles, who recites dramatic monologues, sees that a young pickpocket, Libby, also has a talent for dancing and adds her to his act. Harley, the theater patron who never knew Libby took his gold cigarette case, is impressed by Libby's dancing and invites her to bring Charles and the other buskers in his group to an after-the-play party. Libby comes alone. A theatrical career is launched. Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
Made in London just before England's entrance into the Second World War, this film was co-produced by a refugee from Hitler - the great German producer of "Metropolis" and many other classic UFA films - Erich Pommer. It was directed by an American from Hollywood, Tim Whelan, and features another American, the great harmonica virtuoso, Larry Adler, who was to return to live in exile in England after the war when he was blacklisted in the U.S. Adler went on write and play the score for the classic English comedy Genevieve (1953). The role of the tall busker Gentry is played by Tyrone Guthrie who would be knighted and would one day become Artistic Director of Canada's Stratford Festival and founder of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. The film is edited by Robert Hamer who would go on to direct the Ealing Studio comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949). See more »
While ordering coffee and talking to the gentleman whose gold cigarette case she steals, Libby's eyebrows are penciled in thicker. In the next scene where she is dancing alone in the empty house for rent and is confronted by Charles her eyebrows are noticeably thinner. See more »
I'm forced by conscience to admit right off that I've been a complete sap for Vivien Leigh since the moment I laid eyes on her sitting between the "Tarlton Twins" on the steps at Twelve Oaks in the opening seconds of GWTW. But in decades of looking to find that =particular= Vivien Leigh again, I was everlastingly frustrated.
I found over time that I had fallen for the Vivien the Vixen, the face that could send men happily off to (civil) war in delirious dreams of marching home to her and "happily ever after" ...and the cocksure certainty of precisely that effect upon any man who dared to gaze into that face for more than a few seconds.
One wonders how much she was aware of the thermonuclear force of that face in real life. Olivier is gone, and so is she, so we'll probably never know. But we do know this: Vivien's best friend as a youngster was the formidable -- and slightly older -- Maureen O'Sullivan, she of "Tarzan the Apeman," and no lightweight herself when it came to bowling men over.
While there are hints of Scarlet in Vivien in "Waterloo Bridge" and "That Hamilton Woman," none of the other films I know of allow her to be the manipulative, coercive, self-obsessed, narcissistic, pouting diva that she was as Libby and Scarlet.
Had Selznick seen rushes or scenes from "Sideawalks..." before or after he cast Leigh in her legend maker? Did he see Scarlet right there in black and white? One wonders. Because Libby =is= Scarlet O'Hara regardless of the surrounding scenery and cockney word-chewing.
The similarities do not end there. Virtually every expression and and mannerism is fully formed and on display in Libby the busker =and= Libby the diva. Harrison is a more sophisticated, straightforward and cynical version of Leslie Howard's Ashley Wilkes. And Thomas Mitchell's Gerald O'Hara looks and sounds a =lot= like Lawton's Charlie Staggers.
I'm forced to think that Selznick =did= see "Sidewalks..." and that he saw it far more than once. But in whatever event, those who caught the Viv bug as badly as I did years ago should be pleased to see her living right up to our expectations after so many other relative disappointments.
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