Alongside Maureen O’Hara, Olivia de Havilland may very well be my first screen crush. And why not? Her Maid Marion in The Adventures of Robin Hood has to be one of the earliest movies I would have seen as a kid on television in the mid seventies. Errol Flynn was the hero, Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains the villains, but Olivia was the prize.
Another title that stood out was seeing Olivia as the girl next door in The Strawberry Blonde that I caught as a youngster. And what young man didn’t hope to have a caring sweetheart looking like Olivia as the girl living at the end of the next drive?
Miss Olivia made films from the thirties to the eighties leaving us plenty of lasting images. Her association with Flynn over the course of eight films is one of the screen’s greatest romances on celluloid. Gone With the Wind has given her everlasting immortality. She starred in one of my personal favorites opposite Alan Ladd in The Proud Rebel which I am always championing. I even caught one of her later appearances on the big screen when Mom took me to see the latest star studded disaster flick at the time, Airport ’77. For my money the most enjoyable of the four films in the series.
Shining the light on Olivia I am going to focus on five straight days of films featuring her in the 1940’s including two titles I have yet to see. I chose this decade to spotlight because it served as a coming out party for her on screen. She moved from being the damsel that Flynn rescues and romances to a two time Oscar winning actress in high drama as the forties came to close.
So I’ve given myself five titles of varying roles from this lady that always seems to capture my heart when I watch her on screen. A screwball comedy, the girl next door, high drama, a villain and finally appearing opposite two of the finest actors from stage and screen to close the decade.
So join me in watching an Olivia film this week and check back to see the five flicks I’ve chosen to spotlight.