Robert Taylor & Vivien Leigh: The Beauty of Waterloo Bridge

Every once in a while I’ll see a clip from a movie that makes me want to rush out to find the movie so I can watch it right away. I can’t remember where I first saw it, but all it took for me to really want to watch the movie Waterloo Bridge (1940) was to see a stunning scene where the stars of the movie, Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh, were dancing a waltz to the song “Auld Lang Syne” in a candle lit restaurant.

Thankfully I was able to find the movie at my local library and watch it last night. In my opinion, Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor were two of the most beautiful movie stars to ever grace the screen, and along with the beautiful Academy Award winning cinematography throughout the movie and a moving storyline, this was a very enjoyable movie to watch. I’ve seen several other Robert Taylor movies, but I forgot just how handsome he was until I started watching Waterloo Bridge. If Robert Taylor were still alive, he would be celebrating his 100th birthday in August of this year so I have to ask, is it weird that I found myself developing a crush on him as if he were a current heartthrob? :-)

Many reviewers thought that Robert Taylor was miscast in his role and even Vivien Leigh, who wanted her soon to be husband Laurence Olivier to play opposite her, agreed and thought her experience working with him would be miserable. Yes, I’ve seen some onscreen couples that had more chemistry, but I thought they made a very believable couple and you’d be hard pressed to find a more beautiful one at that. I would like to find out how Vivien ended up viewing the experience, but I did read that Robert Taylor enjoyed working with her.

Both Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh would later go on to say that Waterloo Bridge was their favorite movie of all that they had starred in. This was especially interesting in the case of Vivien Leigh since she made this movie right after her popular starring role as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind.

Two years before filming Waterloo Bridge, Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh starred together in a British film called A Yank at Oxford (1938). Given how much I enjoyed their pairing this time around, I plan on giving that movie a try as well.

If you’ve seen Waterloo Bridge, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the pairing of Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh. Do you think Robert Taylor was miscast or did you enjoy the chemistry between the two stars?

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7 Responses
  1. [...] Waterloo Bridge – A beautiful movie starring the beautiful movie stars Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh. Both stars listed this movie as their favorite out of all they had starred in. [...]

  2. John says:

    Thanks to you, I finally sat down and watched Waterloo Bridge in its entirety.

    My reaction: Wow. I was blown away by this film and the love story between Roy(Taylor) and Myra(Leigh). But, I must tell you I am a sucker for sentimental films like this. There was indeed great chemistry here.

    I kind of knew how it was going an end. But it didn’t stop me from rooting for these two young people who fell in love. There was really something special those two people shared, you really could see it in their eyes. Taken the circumstances and the trying times back then in WWI, Taylor and Leigh pull this off to perfection making this story very believable. The film really touched my heart and is easily one of my favorites now.

    I agree the music was wonderful with Old Lang Syne repeated in quite a few scenes. Plus, I always enjoyed that old song Let Me Call You Sweetheart, that was an added bonus. Songs really do impact great films. The music and the writers back then were so unbelievable. The Gershwins, Jerome Kern, Lorenz Hart, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, etc. I love them all. Oh man, where has that music gone today? I just don’t understand the mindset or the “music” today.

    Anyway, thank you again for blogging about this film. It prompted me to finally see it in earnest.

  3. John says:

    I wonder if you have ever seen the film Johnny Eager with Robert Taylor and Lana Turner? I feel they had great chemistry here. I really believe this films is a must watch for any Talyor or Turner fan.

  4. John says:

    Seeing Waterloo Bridge sort of made me reflect on some other films and another favorite actress of mine named Greer Garson. Her teaming with Robert Donat in Goodbye Mr.Chips was unforgettable. I also enjoyed her with Ronald Colman in Random Harvest, another screen essential in my opinion.

    Garson also made many films with Walter Pidgeon. Miss Garson made relatively few films but almost everyone had quality, substance and heart.

  5. Ginny says:

    After all the movie recommendations I’ve gotten from you lately, I’m glad I was able to return the favor in some small way.

    Johnny Eager is one of the first classic movies I ever watched waaaay back when! Robert Taylor is my uncle’s favorite actor and back when were discussing my new love for classic movies he gave me his copy of that movie to watch. Since it was many many years ago, I don’t really remember much about it but since I’m a fan of both Robert Taylor and Lana Turner, I’m sure I enjoyed it.

    Goodbye Mr. Chips has been on my to-watch list for a long time but I’ve never gotten around to viewing it for some reason. I do like Greer Garson and enjoyed her in Random Harvest and Mrs. Miniver.

  6. Cynthia B. Lagasca says:

    I just watched tonight Waterloo Bridge which starred Ms. Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor. It was indeed a moving, tragic romance movie. I saw Gone with the Wind and but I find the Waterloo Bridge role more becoming of Ms. Leigh. She’s beautiful, cinematically beautiful but it did not get in the way with her fine performance in this film. The emotions inside and out were well-played by her. It is not a lavish and colored movie but it gets into your heart and soul. This is Ms. Leigh’s finest!

  7. Cynthia B. Lagasca says:

    Oh by the way, your question if Robert Taylor was miscast. Of course not! Robert and Vivien lighted up the screen and delivered fine acting here. “They look good together” as the mother in this movie says. Agree.

    And there’s nothing wrong on having a crush with classic actors because they are really pleasing to behold unlike the stars and actors of today who are good-looking but look craggy with unshaved beard and unkempt hair. I had also liked Robert Donat (esp. in the 39 Steps, Goodbye Mr. Chips and that movie with Marlene Dietrich), Gary Cooper’s eyes.

    You have a good blog. Thanks.

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