WATERLOO BRIDGE (1940)
Vivien Leigh followed up her epic role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind with a smaller, more intimate drama set in the ballet world. Today, Waterloo Bridge is mostly forgotten by the general public. However, if you seek it out, you’ll be treated to a lush production, a tragic romance, and a leading female performance for the ages. Leigh plays Myra, a young ballerina who falls in love with a British officer (Robert Taylor) on the onset of World War I. When she chooses love over dance, she is dismissed from the ballet company. In a heartbreaking string of events, we follow Myra as she resorts to prostitution to make ends meet. Waterloo Bridge is the darkest of our film recommendations. Instead of bright celluloid fluff, director Mervyn LeRoy asks his audience to experience the stark reality of dancers during a period of great despair.