No. 5 ~ Vivien Leigh in “A Streetcar Named Desire” (Blanche)
Vivien Leigh, her name is synonymous with Gone With the Wind and Scarlett O’Hara, however, as great as that film and her performance is in GWTW, I think Blanche is the best screen performance of Vivien’s career, and one of the best screen performances in film history. Vivien first played Blanche on the London stage in 1949, where she was directed by her husband Laurence Olivier. When cast in the film, many thought she was too “old” to play Blanche and too unstable. The latter may have been true, she was becoming more unstable in her personal life and her personal demons, but no one could be Blanche better than Leigh. This was the moment that acting changed forever in film, mainly due to Brando and Leigh. Their combination was combustible, and powerful. Their raw magnetism was evident throughout the film. Vivien Leigh gave everything she had and more, and it is evident in the outcome.