In the April 13 issue of Entertainment Weekly, the sidebar “Also Available” which accompanies Chris Nashawaty’s always savvy “DVD and Downloads” gives Marlon Brando billing over Vivien Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire. This is the first tme I recall encountering this abomination. Despite the fact that all Streetcar video and DVD sleeves feature only Brando — Despite the egregious Academy practice of showing only Brando in any retrospective clips (Brando didn’t win their Oscar, Leigh did!) — Despite decades of such blunders, all catalogs and posters and film listings of any kind have continued to honor the original billing on the screen and the contemporary publicity and advertising in which, of course, Vivien Leigh’s name appeared first.
The current appalling spectacle on page 71 of Entertainment Weekly is a regression during a time when Vivien Leigh has been coming into her rightful own. I have even seen her name ahead of Clark Gable’s in recent notices of television showings of Gone with the Wind, final acknowledgment in print of the real star of the film. (She won the Oscar. He didn’t.)
The regression is cause for chagrin, but I am confident that Vivien Leigh, star of only four Hollywood films and winner of the Oscar for half of those, will historically survive EW‘s slip.
NEXT POST April 17