October 19, 1990 at 04:00 AM EDT

Vivien Leigh: Scarlett and Beyond

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
Elizabeth Ashley, Claire Bloom
We gave it a C-

Jessica Lange narrates this sappy salute to actress Leigh, one of whose greatest charms was that she was so unsappy. As the title suggests, much is made of Leigh’s Scarlett O’Hara role in Gone With the Wind, but none of this material will be new to anyone who saw TNT’s first-rate Making of Gone documentary last season. It’s nice to see Leigh in clips from her other excellent films (That Hamilton Woman, Fire Over England, A Streetcar Named Desire), but there’s an annoying movie-star-magazine tone to the narration (”Vivien’s passion for Laurence Olivier was central to her life…”)

Such bilge prevents Vivien Leigh: Scarlett and Beyond from being interesting as a piece of film criticism. Instead of insights, we get non sequiturs. ”She was never to be truly known or fully understood,” Lange must recite at one point — what does that mean? Add to this banal interviews with actors (Elizabeth Ashley says her mother took her to see Gone With the Wind when she was just a child — wow), and you have a limp documentary about a wonderfully starchy star. C-

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