It might just be impossible to write a script about the lives of the Oliviers, or either, that will fit into two hours. There are however certain episodes that offer a narrative concept, and the Australian Tour is one of those.
In the prime of her life, having already experienced a couple of serious personal blows, 1948 is a watershed year for Vivien, and for her marriage to Olivier. If you are a fan, you might wonder if the images in your mind match in any way with those of other people, for whatever reason, this movie gave me a resounding yes.
As for their relationship, one does need to keep in mind, contrary to some popular myth, the Olivier' was anything but platonic. The V&A museum acquired a large amount of papers, after Vivien's daughter had died in 2013, among them letters kept by Vivien that Olivier sent her while she shot GWTW, and you will blush too. It does take some imagination to find the latter in the actor portraying him here, but Mel Martin certainly meets the idea of the classic English rose, and in many scenes manages to match Vivien's voice, smile almost, and movements, while Jerome Ehlers transports the perception that Vivien did have a powerful and long lasting effect on some very attractive men. Beautiful scenery, sets, and costumes, with many of them distinctively recognizable to fans. Certainly not reflecting 1948 the way most of us would have known it, nevertheless an interesting study too. Mostly though, that of two very special actors, equally global celebrities as artists, struggling to find a balance between their respective passions, public and own fantasies, and reality, heightened by a mental illness, which had been there for two decades probably, but is now fully consciously looming. On the journey home, Olivier will spend two weeks in their cabin, while Vivien as much the social center of everything as ever, becomes also determined to play Blanche Du Bois, to me very much the essence of this time in their lives.
80ies TV is incredibly slow placed, and this will certainly grab nobody as a late night movie. It should be interesting for fans, if for no other reason, as it illustrates the reception of 30 years ago, which has been rewritten to some extent already, and rightly so.
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