Vivien Leigh in Waterloo Bridge. Old Movie Review. Best of the 1940’s. By Screenwriter, Dewey Edward Chester. Nice day, Yareah Magazine friends.
Man’s struggle for Love in battle has always taken place in a Universe of blood-soaked killing fields—-war after war, since Homer! But the 1940 Hollywood movie starring Actress Vivien Leigh and Actor Robert Taylor, ‘Waterloo Bridge,’ offers only churning fear that a loved one will never return.
Vivien Leigh falls in love with a soldier, then believing him killed in action, rejects the promise of her life, to embrace prostitution, and death.
Hopelessly, we watch her struggle, as scenes escalate to an unbearable tragedy. Vivien conveys passion, longing and regret, with a simple glance. She is vulnerable, innocent, determined and ultimately sympathetic.
Yes! But this movie rises above bare bones and achieves the lyrical height of a ballet.
Go back and review the New Years Eve night club scene—- an orchestra is playing ‘Auld Lang Syne’….and in the simplest of dialogues, the story springs to life:
Robert Taylor asks Vivien—– “What do you think we’re going to do tonight?”
And Vivien answers—- “Well I, I…..”
Taylor implores—- “Oh, you won’t have time for that.”
“For what?” she responds.
Taylor answers—- “For hesitating! No more hesitation, for you!
“No!” Taylor commands.
“Well, what am I going to do instead?”
Confidently, Taylor says—- “You’re going to get married.”
His comment sets the stage for Vivien’s final sacrifice, for Love.
In later life, Vivien Leigh preferred ‘Waterloo Bridge’ to her performances in “Gone With The Wind,” or “A Street car named Desire.”
In Robert Taylor’s last month of life, he asked for a print of “Waterloo Bridge.” He died watching it, repeatedly, with close friends.
This is a sad, wonderfully written movie.
A word of caution: be prepared to have your heart pierced.