I used to have a bit of a weakness for Sir Larry in his prime, and I still watch Rebecca whenever I see it's on TV. I noticed we have a fairly recent release of an old Olivier film from that period, and it made me wonder what others we may have acquired recently. Here are the three latest DVDs in the Library that feature, frankly, one of the best-looking actors ever:
1. That Hamilton Woman (1941) is an account of a famous love affair, that between the great British admiral Lord Nelson, and Lady Hamilton, the wife of a British ambassador. Says Amanda Mae Meynacke, the film is a "robust affair, brimming with vitality and nuance, the kind of film that is too deliciously layered to be taken at face value. Real life couple Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier starred in the 1941 film, with Alexander Korda directing the epic historical war romance. Leigh and Olivier were a newly minted couple who came together while still married to other people, much like Hamilton and Nelson, apparently magnetically drawn together as if their love was always meant to be."
2. My own favorite Olivier movie was re-released on DVD in 2008, Rebecca (1940), based on the Daphne du Maurier novel and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The movie is a wonderfully atmospheric suspense film, although you may find yourself frustrated by Joan Fontaine's exaggerated mousiness (and wonder, like I did, why Olivier's character ever wanted to marry her at all). I tend to watch Olivier movies just to hear the way he delivers lines, and the way he says "I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool" is an all-time favorite.
3. Pride and Prejudice (1940) has seen a number of film and television adaptations, of course, and if you love the book, you may well dislike this movie. "The script is so light in tone, and so light on its resemblance to the novel’s storyline and characters, that purists will find it wholly insufferable. Those with a sense of humor or affection for this era of Hollywood, however, will very quickly fall in love with it," says one blogger at the "My Pride and Prejudice" website.
Do you have a favorite Olivier film, or do you prefer Cary Grant? Tell us in the comments!